Exercising is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Although exercise can be dangerous if you don't take the appropriate measures, it can be easy to get injured during training. How many times have you seen the news report about an accident at a fitness club? It's heartbreaking to see people getting hurt while working out.
There are many ways that injuries can occur during exercise, and at MPower Fitness Coaching, we want to make sure that doesn't happen to you, so we've come up with these tips for staying safe while exercising.
1. Warm-up before exercise and cool down afterward with a 5- to 10-minute warm-up and a 5-minute cool down with some light activity, such as walking or slow jogging in place. Don't jump right into vigorous exercise after sitting for an extended time -- you may feel stiff or sore from lack of warm-up or cool down.
2. Don't overreach or stretch too far, especially in "unnatural" positions during sit-ups and push-ups. Be careful not to bounce or jerk while stretching -- this can sometimes cause a muscle spasm that can result in an injury. To protect your muscles from tearing when you stretch, don't bounce. Stretches should be slow and gentle, not jerky or bouncy.
3. If you're feeling too exhausted to exercise, have a glass of water or take a siesta instead. When you are well-rested, your body can better handle mild and harder activities, therefore save your strength for high-energy activities by getting plenty of rest.
4. Warm-up and cool down with some light activity, such as walking or slow jogging in place. Don't jump right into vigorous exercise after sitting for an extended time -- you may feel stiff or sore from lack of warm-up or cool down.
5. If you are new to physical activity, start slowly, and then do more as your body gets stronger. Don't increase the intensity or duration of the exercise too quickly -- this increases your risk for injury. Listen to what your body is telling you and adjust the intensity of an activity according to how you feel.
6. If you're exercising with an MPower Fitness coach, let us know when something hurts during an exercise and what you think the problem is. MPower Fitness will collaborate to develop a strategy for avoiding that sort of agony or harm in the future. For example, if you're performing sit-ups with your feet on top of the weight and it hurts when your partner pushes down on your shoulders, adjust by putting your feet nearer to your body and pressing them against the floor, or use a lighter weight.
7. Keep your feet flat on the floor when rising from a seated position to minimize stress on your lower back. If you feel discomfort in your lower back when rising, bend at the knees and hips instead of rounding forward with your upper body -- this allows for less strain on the muscles of the lower back.
8. If you have arthritis, don't work through the pain. Exercise is good for people with arthritis, but be sure to talk to your doctor before making any changes in your usual activities. Ask whether it's all right for you to continue with the exercise program you are already doing or make some changes.
9. If you're a beginner, don't try complicated exercises. Save the "advanced" moves for when your body is strong enough to perform them without pain and your body is physically ready to execute them correctly.
10. When you feel pain during or after exercise, stop what you are doing immediately, rest until the pain completely disappears, and then try again at a lower intensity. If the pain persists, see your doctor.
11. Replace your workout clothes and shoes regularly, especially if you're doing something that puts strain on your feet. Replace running shoes every six months as the cushioning wears down.
12. When it comes to strength training, MPower Online stresses that good form is critical. When learning the activities, start with no weight or very light weights. Never sacrifice good form by attempting to complete reps or sets in a hurry or by striving to lift heavier weights.
13. Exercising in hot, humid weather may result in dehydration and heatstroke. When the temperature rises above 70°F, decrease your speed. On days when the thermometer is expected to reach 80°F, exercise during cooler morning or evening hours at an air-conditioned gym. Signs of overheating and exhaustion include headache, dizziness, and nausea.
14. To prevent hypothermia: Dress appropriately for cold-weather exercises. Wear clothing that you can remove as you warm up, depending on the temperature. Don't forget gloves.
In addition, MPower Fitness coaching notes that injuries occur due to dehydration and soreness.
Dehydration during exercise is a common and serious concern for many, and for some, it has serious consequences. Exercise puts extra demands on the body's water supply, so you need to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after activity. Signs of dehydration include thirst, muscle cramps, dizziness, headache, and fainting. It is essential to stay hydrated when working out in hot or humid weather or exercising for extended periods.
If you don't want to carry a water bottle during exercise, try drinking small amounts of water every 5 minutes instead of chugging it all at once. Practice good hydration habits outside of the gym, too. Drink when you are thirsty throughout the day, not just when your body tells you after you've become seriously dehydrated.
Soreness is a common side effect of exercise and typically subsides once you return to your normal activity. Muscle soreness is usually felt 12 to 24 hours after exercise and can last for 1 or 2 days. Sore muscles are an indication that the muscle was stressed during activity and has experienced microscopic damage. This can be caused by exercising muscles that aren't used to work or increasing the intensity, duration, or frequency of an activity too quickly.
If you feel soreness in your muscles, stay off them for a day or two until the pain goes away completely. Then try again with less intensity, or take it easier during that workout. This method reduces the risks of injury and allows your body time to adjust to exercise. Remember that it is vital to have a good warm-up and cool down, mainly if you are not used to physical activity. The more muscles are involved, the higher the risk of injury will be.
In order to keep your body healthy and avoid injury, you should always take care of yourself before exercising —whether at home or at the MPower Fitness Coaching. Ensure that you don't overdo it by warming up properly and stretching out any muscles or joints that might be tight from sitting all day at work or being inactive for a while. If possible, try to stretch beforehand as well so the muscles are warmed up and less likely to pull or strain during exercise.