Staying Injury Free

Have you started to exercise and are fearful of becoming injured?  Here are a few tips and tricks to stay injury free.

Take care of your knees. Whether you are running or cycling the best way to protect them is to do quad strengthening exercises. If the inner part of your quadriceps are weak then the knee will be pulled out of alignment and cause discomfort.  To strengthen, try rotating your feet slightly inward and outward when on the leg press machine.  You can also try squats on a hill or a down-sloping a Bosu ball.

If pain persists for two days it is time to stop. If you experience pain after the workout – then take two full days off.  You can always work the rest of the body during this time with cross-training.  If there is improvement, start back at a slower pace or resistance than normal.  If pain persists, take a break until it is completely gone and make a plan with your doctor. Listen to your body, and if something is wrong you will need to change your training so that the pain does not become a full-blown injury in the weeks ahead.

Go slow and steady.  Make a plan with gradual increases in your routine each week.  Every forth week, cut back on your resistance or weights to give your body a chance to catch up.  You can incorporate other workouts such as yoga or pilates during this time, or other activities you enjoy such as tennis or swimming.

Make sure to stretch and strength train regularly. This reduces the risk of injury because it keeps your body in balance.  Tight or weak muscles can cause imbalances and make you more susceptible to injuries.  Stretch after every workout and incorporate strength training workouts at least 2-3 times per week.

Ice-cold baths!  It seems to help professional athletes recover faster and reduce inflammation if you soak once a week after your workout- but you have to be brave to try it!

Maintain a positive mindset and keep active. If you are currently injured, try not to focus on what you are missing.  Instead, focus on what you can do to stay fit while you are healing.  Are you eating lots of dark green vegetables to reduce inflammation and heal faster?  Create a plan to get back into shape with physical therapy in order to return to normal training. Your body knows how to heal itself, just be patient and positive.