Regular exercise is important in your daily life. When done correctly and consistently, you’ll enjoy a variety of benefits, such as higher energy levels, stronger muscles, and better weight management.
While exercise is great for the body, it also comes with its own risks.
Whether you are a weekend warrior or a seasoned fitness buff, anyone is at risk of experiencing workout injuries that can leave you sidelined for days or weeks at a time — you wouldn’t want that to happen, right?
In fact, a study shows that more than 10,000 people across the country are treated in emergency rooms for injuries from doing sports, exercise, or recreational activities — that’s a lot!
Even after getting an injury treated and being able to go back to doing physical activities, the impact of injuries on the body can linger for years.
Torn cartilage and strained ligaments are two of the common injuries for those who are physically active. And, these are found to contribute to the development of arthritis.
In this article, we lay out 9 of the most effective ways to help you have a safe and accident-free workout so you avoid getting injured.
9 Safe Exercise Guidelines to Follow
1. Don’t Forget to Warm Up and Cool Down
If you are just starting your journey to building a lean and fit physique, you can’t help but feel overly enthusiastic to begin your reps and sets.
But, hold your horses! Because jumping straight into your workout routine can be a recipe for disaster – this is why it is important to warm up your muscles before training.
Cold muscles are less flexible and more prone to tearing, which can easily ruin your workout plans.
Make sure to spend 5 to 10 minutes slowly stretching and doing warm-up exercises — don’t rush it! This helps increase blood flow to your muscles, reducing stiffness and bringing down your risk of getting injured.
After exercising, do some cool-down stretches to gradually relax your muscles. This also helps bring your heart rate and body temperature back to normal.
2. Know Your Limits
The last thing you want to do is overexert yourself during your workouts.
Just because you were able to take on high-intensity exercise last month doesn’t necessarily mean that you can do the same today.
Start out slowly and set realistic goals, especially if you are just getting into exercising or trying out a new fitness regimen.
It’s always a good idea to gradually build up to your goal rather than pushing yourself too hard to accomplish it in one day. There’s no need to rush!
3. Vary Your Exercises
Performing the same exercise day in and day out can become boring – and this may also lead to overusing a specific group of muscles.
Doing the exact same routine daily may also make you feel overconfident, which can make you lose focus while you sweat it out.
Switching up your exercise routine every now and then helps you target more muscle groups, thus, reducing the risk of overuse. This also gives you a well-rounded workout for improving your physique and overall strength.
4. Learn Proper Form
Poor training form can cause serious injuries that can put a stop to your fitness progress.
If you are trying out a new exercise regimen, it always pays to spend time learning proper techniques.
You might want to consider asking the assistance of a professional for the first few sessions, just to make sure that you develop the correct exercise form.
It’s also important to keep track of your body alignment while exercising.
When you get tired, you may tend to ignore your form just to blast your way through the last couple of reps. Once your exercise feels too tedious to complete with the proper technique, it would be better to do fewer reps rather than get yourself injured.
Always prioritize doing the correct form rather than focusing on the number of reps you do.
5. Eat Right!
Not eating before exercising is like driving a car that is running empty on gas. Eating the right food at least 2 hours before working out helps fill up your energy reserves, allowing you to work out with high levels of stamina and endurance.
During exercise, you may want to snack on bananas, fruit and nut bars, or dry fruits just to keep your energy levels running high.
After working out, you also need to feed your body with the right nutrients for building muscle and replenishing your energy stores. Load up on protein-rich foods or drink a post-workout shake to help you recover from exercise.
If you are a skinny person looking to build serious muscle, drinking a mass gainer after working out can help you achieve the muscular physique that you’ve always wanted.
6. Stay Hydrated!
Whenever you exercise, you sweat and perspire – causing your body to lose water as well as electrolytes that are vital for proper muscle function.
Replacing lost fluids during exercise is vital to keep yourself from getting dehydrated and falling prey to premature exhaustion.
Try to load up on about 16 ounces of water 2 hours before exercising. Keep a bottle of water within your arm’s reach so you can rehydrate every now and then while you workout.
After exercising, consume another 16 ounces of water to help you cool down and replenish your body fluids.
7. Wear the Right Clothing
Aside from making you look good, the clothes you wear for exercise can also help you avoid getting hurt or injured.
Wearing ill-fitting shoes or baggy clothes can make you trip or lose your footing while you work out.
Wear close-fitting attire that feels comfy, without hindering your movements. In general, avoid wearing clothes that get in the way of your training activities.
If you are exercising under the hot sun, wearing clothes made of breathable fabric can help keep your body cool for longer time periods.
8. Know When to Stop
Feeling some physical discomfort while you exercise is quite normal. However, your exercise sessions should never be about punishing your body and intentionally looking for pain.
If you experience unbearable pain, that can be a sign that you are doing something wrong or your body isn’t ready to take on that level of exercise yet.
Take a break and evaluate what might be causing the pain. Then, you can decide to make adjustments to your form or just take a rest.
It would be better to back off from a pain-causing exercise set than to risk getting injured.
If you are constantly experiencing pain while you train, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a coach or health professional.
9. Give Your Body Enough Rest
Muscles grow while you are at rest – not while you exercise.
Working out every single day can be counterproductive to your fitness goals as it overworks your muscles and joints, causing soreness, pain, or stiffness.
Giving your body adequate rest helps your muscles and joints to recover from exercise – allowing you to rise up the next day with increased strength and resilience.
Taking regular time off should be part of your fitness regimen as it prevents you from pushing your muscles too hard, which can end up with you getting hurt or injured.
The Bottom Line
To achieve your fitness goals, you need to be in tiptop shape every single day.
This means taking care of yourself and being aware of situations that can place your body in danger while you exercise.
With these 9 tips, you can exercise smarter and make the most out of your workouts in the safest manner possible. Why not hit the gym today and start making these tips a habit?