As we move into the first Long Weekend of the season and (hopefully) get out and enjoy exercising in nice weather here are a few tips to keep in mind to help stay injury-free:
- Warm up. It is never a good idea to work out muscles that are cold. Make sure you are warming up your body to increase your body’s core temperature, blood flow to the working muscles, and also to mentally prepare yourself for the workout ahead.
- Cross Train: Change up your routine by engaging in different activities. This will not only help you avoid hitting a plateau with your workouts, it will give your muscles a much needed break from the same routine day in and day out. Plus, not only will your body benefit from diversifying your exercise routine, but so will your metabolism.
- Be smart about your training: Just because you could do a specific exercise 10 or 20 years ago, doesn’t mean you can exercise with the same speed and energy today, and that’s okay! Be realistic about your training and not focus on what you use to do. “Too much, too soon” can be the number one reason why injuries occur. Gradually increase your time and the intensity of your workouts to prevent those nagging injuries.
- Wear proper workout attire. If you have to think about how long ago you purchased a new pair of running shoes, then it is definitely time to head to the store. Seek out expert advice on what shoes you should be wearing. A properly trained associate in a specialty store can gauge what shoe fits best with your arch, gait and body weight. So many injuries come from wearing worn out shoes or the wrong shoes without any support. The cost of physio treatments far outweighs the cost of a sold pair of running shoes!
- Eat a balanced diet and hydrate. What you eat and drink is just as important as your workout. Not only will carbohydrates give you energy for your workout, they will replenish those glycogen stores for your recovery and for the next workout. Protein after your workout is just as important as this will help repair those muscles you just broke down. Check in with a dietician or sports nutritionist to understand when, how much, and what foods you should be eating to keep you healthy and energized for your workouts.
- Add strength training and core work to your routine. Having a strong fit body is a great way to keep the injuries away. If your muscles are balanced with a strong core then your body will not wear down or have to compensate for being weak or tight.
- Listen to your body with rest and recovery. Your body will give you the signals you need to know when to back off. If that knee is feeling a little achy, your soreness lasts for more than the recommended 24 to 48 hours, or you are just plain tired, then it is time to look over your exercise routine. Rest and recovery might be what your body is looking for. Make sure you take those rest days as your body is making actual gains during this time.
- Visit a personal trainer or get a coach. If you don’t know how to start an exercise program or take it to that next level safely, a personal trainer or coach is an excellent option. They can provide you with safety tips and progressions to either get you started, or achieve your goal(s), without getting injured.
Start having some safe, fun workouts and balance that with rest, while always listening to your body.
Have a great weekend!