Avoid Exercise Injury

Photo Credit: Peter van der Sluijs CC-BY-SA-3.0
No one is immune from workout injuries, but you can take steps to reduce your risk of injury. The most common type of workout injuries are strained muscles, knee and ankle sprains, shin splints, wrist sprain, shoulder injuries and tendinitis which is painful inflammation of the tendons from overuse. See your doctor if the pain persists, there is swelling or discoloration of the injured area. Always see your doctor for a full checkup prior to beginning an exercise program if you have been inactive for a long time or have a medical condition, such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. 
You can reduce your risk of strains and sprains by warming up before exercise and cooling down after a workout. Warming up gradually increases your heart rate and helps your muscles and joints prepare for more strenuous exercise by increasing blood flow. Cooling down will gradually return reduce your heart rate and allow your muscles and joints to relax following exercise. Stretching, walking and riding a stationary bicycle are good ways to warm up and cool down. Warm up and cool down for at least 10 minutes. 

Begin a new exercise by gradually increasing the level of your workout. For example, when you begin lifting weights start with the lightest weight possible. Don’t grab a 10 pound dumbbell and start doing bicep curls if you’ve never used them. Start with a 2 pound weight and gradually work toward the heavier weights. Don’t try to walk 2 miles if you haven’t been walking further than the distance between your car and your front door. If you overdo it you risk sore muscles and injury. 
Always use correct form when performing any exercise. Seek instruction from a qualified fitness instructor. Performing an exercise with poor form can result in injuries, especially when lifting weights or using resistance bands. Your posture is critical to effective exercise and to avoid injury. 
Cross training can help you prevent over-use injuries that are caused by repetitive motions. Alternate days for lifting weights and running or jogging. A fitness trainer can help you to develop a weekly plan so that you work a different muscle group each day. Cross training allows your muscles to rest between workouts. 

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About Robin R.
I’m an AFPA certified personal trainer & nutrition consultant, NASM certified corrective exercise specialist, NASM certified youth exercise specialist, online fitness coach and freelance writer specializing in health and fitness. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health. I specialize in weight loss, functional strength training, total body toning, aerobic conditioning, plyometric training, nutrition planning, and home-based boot camp style workouts for women. My goal is to make every personal training session fun and effective for my clients. My services include both in-home personal training and online fitness coaching.

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