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You have the goals, you have the motivation, you have the workout you need to accomplish it all. When that’s the case, nothing can halt your momentum like a training injury. Yet, if you’re not ensuring the proper preparation and recovery when it comes to your exercise, it may happen more often than you would like. Let’s look at how you manage risk and recovery with your workout.
Make sure you warm up (and cool down)
When you don’t have a lot of time, you might want to skip the warm-up exercises, but the more explosive or dynamic your movements, the greater a risk this is to you. Learning a comprehensive warm-up exercise can help ensure that your body is limber and mobile so that sudden exercise doesn’t put you at greater risk of injury. Cool down (or warm down) exercises are just as important in helping your muscles ease back into a condition where they can recover more easily so that you’re not all tense and knotted.
Give your body the fuel it needs
What you eat before a workout determines not only the results you can expect to see from it but how well you can recover from it, too. Your body uses carbs for fuel, protein to repair muscle damaged by exercise, and the timing of the meal is just as important. 2-3 hours before workout is optimal.
Know the risks associated with the workout
Though it can be a disconcerting experience, it’s worth looking up the injuries and conditions most commonly associated with your chosen workout method or sport. For example, in running and athletics, foot and leg injuries, athletes foot, plantar fasciitis are common concerns, so having ready access to podiatry services can help you ensure a smoother, swifter recovery. Make sure you have access to the relevant care that can quickly give you the help you need in the event one of those risks rears its ugly head.
Do it the right way
Knowing the risks, you may also learn better ways to manage them. With athletics and aerobics, especially running, having the right running shoes is essential to ensure your feet are well-supported and protected. In strength training, perfecting your lifting form can help you avoid injuries as you deal with heavier weights.
Give yourself time to recover
If you do feel extremely sore or believe you are injured, you shouldn’t immediately get back to hitting the gym. Your body needs time to recover. However, this doesn’t mean you should give it nothing but bed rest. Too much bed rest can actually hinder your recovery and increase your chances of developing long-term chronic pain. Work with your doctor to see the right range of activity you should incorporate in your recovery to speed it along.
The most important thing of all is to do your research regarding the specific exercise you plan on taking on. Know the risks, how to best treat injuries if they do happen, and the correct form or preventative equipment you can use to make the risk of injury all the smaller.
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Listen to your body. It will tell you when you’re not doing something right. I run, and back when I started a few years ago, I ended up with a pretty bad case of plantar fasciitis. Now, I know that I can only run a certain number of times per week, a certain distance, a certain pace, and that I have to do so much stretching before and after, and that I have to get specific running shoes and replace them after specific wear and tear cycles, and also add and regularly change out the inserts that go in them. If I start slipping on just any one of those things, I inevitably start feeling that twinge of pain that tells me I’m headed for painful things. So, now I make sure to listen and to stay on top of things.
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