A regular exercise regimen coupled with well-balanced diet and effective stress management is one sure way to lead a healthy life. Fitness exercises have been shown to improve the body’s overall functioning in terms of improving cardiovascular endurance, facilitating improved delivery of oxygen and removal of carbon dioxide and other metabolic waste products, and providing the body with suppleness. However, when done incorrectly, these same exercises can create entirely different problems.
Preventing fitness injuries should be tantamount to promoting general physical fitness. Since the two most common causes of fitness-related injuries are related to misuse and overuse of muscles, care should be taken to prevent these two things.
Know your Limits
There is plenty of exercise equipment in the gym. But this does not mean that you can use all of them. You have to know your body’s limitations. Do you have a problem in your knees or the heart maybe? How is your muscle strength? You need to identify parts of your body that are significantly weaker so that you do not put undue stress on them.
Know the Differences among the Sexes
Studies have shown that men often exercise a lot better when movements are restricted to a rigid plane. As such, they are better at lifting weights, Nautilus machines, and push-ups. Ladies, on the other hand, are more flexible such that they require exercises that allow them to move in multiple planes such as cycling and stair steppers. This does not necessarily mean that men cannot do the activities that women do, and vice versa. It’s just that you have to be extra cautious when performing an exercise that is not really designed for your sex.
Use the Correct Form and Exercise Gear
While using the different gym equipment may seem simple enough, you have to understand that there are certain techniques that you need to consider in performing these routines. You need to know which muscle group to contract and how to properly breathe when exercising. Your gear can also significantly impact your safety in performing the exercises.
Do it Gradually
It is best to approach your fitness exercise regimen on a slow, progressive approach. Do not go to the gym and expect to do everything all at once. For example, run the treadmill first at a comfortable 5 kilometers per hour for 45 minutes on your first week then slowly increasing this to 10 kph on your succeeding week. If you need to increase the intensity or the duration of your exercise routine, make sure to do it gradually, often in small incremental steps.
Also, spread your fitness sessions all throughout the week, not cramming them into the 2-day weekend. The risk for exercise injuries is known to be a lot higher among weekend exercise warriors than those who do it 3 to 4 times a week.
In any activity, you need to prepare your body first by warming up those muscles, loosening those joints, and increasing your heart rate for a good 5-10 minutes. After any activity, you will also need to cool down again to bring back your heart rate to its resting level.
Fitness exercises can be fun. If you know your body’s limitations and doing things slowly at first, gradually building up, you will be able to prevent fitness exercise injuries and optimize the benefits of exercise for good health.
Devin works with the Rosedale Wellness Center, located in downtown Toronto.They provide osteopathic, chiropractic, therapeutic, rehabilitative and a wide range of wellness and lifestyle services. For more information, check out their website.