Staying Injury-Free

To avoid knee-pain, try not to do the same movement over and over again. Knee-pain can also be affected or caused by a lack of stability and strength in the hips. Try not to sit down too far when you squat to avoid knee injuries. Cross-training (varying your exercise activities) is a good way to avoid knee pain and injury.

Back pain can be prevented by doing abdominal and back exercises. Always lift and bend with your legs, not with your back.

When you lift weights or use a stair-climber, take care not to lock your elbows. Remember to breathe while lifting weights.

Keep these tips in mind as you perform squats:

  • Keep your head up and eyes focused on an object directly in front of you. Your body tends to follow your eyes. When you stand back, push through your heels rather than shifting your body weight forward.
  • Try not to arch your back as you stand up.

To prevent tennis elbow, lift objects with your palm facing your body. Also, strengthen your wrists and your triceps.

Running or walking on a treadmill is gentler on your body than running on asphalt.

Warming up and stretching before work out and cooling down and stretching after work out keeps you injury-free and prolongs your ability to work out and increases your fat-burning potential.

A woman stretchingStretching is key to maintaining your flexibility. Flexibility is one of the keys to good posture.

  • Don’t stretch your muscles until you’ve at least warmed up thoroughly.
  • A post-workout stretch is a great way to relax and ease back into the rest of your day and has been shown to reduce injuries. It is very important to stretch out your muscles after every work out – that helps you stay injury free.
  • Don’t stretch before you cool down.
  • Stretch as often as you can – daily if possible.
  • Move into each stretching position slowly.
  • As you hold each position, take at least two deep breaths. Deep breathing promotes relaxation.
  • As you perform neck stretch, keep your shoulders down and relaxed.
  • Chest expansion targets your shoulders, chest, and arms and helps promote good posture. Resist arching your lower back as you pull your arms upward. Try to keep your shoulders relaxed and down. Don’t force your arms higher than is comfortable.
  • Back expansion loosens your shoulders, arms, upper back and lower-back muscles. Keep your abdominal muscles pulled inward to protect your lower back; lean only as far forward as you feel comfortable and balanced. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed.
  • Standing hamstring stretch is a great stretch for your hamstrings and your lower back. Keep your back straight and your abs pulled to make the stretch more effective and to protect your lower back. Don’t lean far forward.
  • Don’t lock the knee of your base leg when you perform the standing quad stretch.
  • The double calf stretch helps relieve tightness in your calf muscles. Keep both heels flat on the floor, keep your abs pulled. To increase the stretch, bend your elbows, leaning your chest toward the wall.
  • Horse biting tail stretches your abdominals, sides and lower back. Keep your abs pulled to prevent your lower back from sagging; don’t force the stretch.
  • The butterfly stretch targets your inner thighs, groin, hips and lower back.
  • Hold each stretching position for 30 seconds.

Make sure you listen to your body and be aware of injury risk levels when choosing your activities. If at any point of a work out you start to feel pain, you should stop whatever you are doing and go and see your doctor.

Mix up physical activities as much as you can, so that you don’t overuse the same muscles and risk injury.

Don’t exercise in hot or humid weather.

Drink water before, during and after exercise.

The intensity of your exercise should be increased gradually.

Over-exercising can cause depression or eating disorders.

Use the right equipment when exercising:

  • Helmets for biking, baseball, snow-skating and roller-balding.
  • Wrist, knee, and elbow pads for inline skating, rollerblading, skate or snow-boarding or playing hockey.
  • The right shoes for your sport. Walking shoes are more flexible than running shoes. If you dabble in a variety of activities – cross-training shoes may suffice. Don’t cheap-out: One thing that is always more expensive than a good pair of shoes is a visit to an orthopedist. Shop at a specialty store where the sales people are fitness enthusiasts themselves. Make sure the shoes feel good from the moment you put them on.