Many people begin their New Year with lofty ambitions. However, if you jump into any new exercise routine too quickly, you could wind up spending most of 2016 recovering from an injury.
“When learning a new exercise, don’t push your body too hard,” says Daniel Judd, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Kauai Medical Clinic.
“Of course, in order to see progress, limits will have to be surpassed. But make sure to pay attention to any warning signs your body may be giving that indicate you should dial down the intensity or duration of your routine,” Judd says.
Common injuries people experience due to improper training include:
- Muscle strains
- Ligament sprains
- Herniated disks
“A good way to prevent injury is to start light and practice correct form before increasing your workload,” Judd says.
Other injury-prevention tips include:
- Practice makes perfect. Be sure that the right muscles are being contracted to execute the desired exercise. Attempting to compensate by any other means can lead to injury.
- Hydrate adequately. Waiting until you feel thirsty is often too late.
- Dress the part for whatever activity you have planned.
- Warm up and cool down. Both are important steps to decrease chances of injury and increase range of motion of all joints.
- Safety is key. While many pieces of equipment or weights in a workout facility are stagnant unless being used, there are still heavy components that can injure people.
- If you have any questions about training programs or the proper form of various exercises, consult a trainer. A training program will get you greater results most efficiently.
- Rest! Wear yourself too thin and you may suffer an overuse injury. Devote at least one day a week to complete rest and relaxation. Or, if you can’t sit still, try a low-impact activity like yoga, golf or swimming.