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What Are the Best Tips for Exercise Injury Prevention?

Article Details
  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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In order to avoid getting hurt during a workout, it can be useful to know a few important tips for exercise injury prevention. First of all, an exerciser should dress appropriately for his chosen activity as well as the weather conditions. He should also use protective gear where applicable, and avoid working out on dangerous terrain or unsafe equipment. Taking the time to warm up and cool down is another important part of exercise injury prevention, as is maintaining proper form. Finally, an exerciser can reduce his chance of injury by simply paying attention to his body’s signals and allowing himself adequate recovery time between workouts.

Wearing appropriate clothing is a crucial part of exercise injury prevention. An exerciser should choose an outfit that allows him to remain comfortable during his workout, but does not pose any safety risks. For instance, a cyclist should not choose to wear loose-fitting pants, as they can become caught in a bicycle’s pedals, causing a fall. If exercising outdoors, it is also important to select clothing that suits the weather. In cold weather, layers can help an exerciser stay warm, while a lightweight long-sleeved top can be useful for preventing sunburn on warm days.

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Protective gear is another important tool in exercise injury prevention. Participants in any activity that poses a fall risk should wear a helmet to minimize the chance of head injury. Protective padding like shin guards and shoulder pads should be worn by those playing contact sports.

An exerciser can also prevent injury by working out only on safe terrain. For example, he should not attempt to jog on roads that have many potholes or play ice hockey on a pond that is not solidly frozen. Before beginning to use gym equipment, he should ensure that each piece of equipment is fully functional.

Adding five-minute warm-up and cool-down periods to every workout is another important element of exercise injury prevention. This practice can help prepare the body for exercise by stimulating blood flow and loosening the muscles, and may also reduce post-workout stiffness and pain. Many find that a short period of rapid walking before and after each workout is enough to help their bodies warm up and cool down sufficiently.

No matter what type of exercise one is participating in, maintaining correct form is also critical to injury prevention. For instance, runners should avoid rolling their ankles outward, while weightlifters should take care to keep their movements smooth and avoid hyper-extending their joints. Those who are concerned about their form might consider a session with a personal trainer.

Lastly, a key part of exercise injury prevention is simply keeping attuned to one’s body. Pain and excessive stiffness may signal the beginning of an injury. To avoid doing serious damage to his muscles, joints, or bones, an exerciser should allow himself to rest for a day or more when he experiences these symptoms. He may also find it useful to ice and elevate the affected body part. Additionally, a beginning exerciser should ease into physical activity, starting off with short, light workouts and building to longer, more difficult ones.

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