"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Prevent exercise-related injuries from derailing your workout.

You can prevent many common injuries by incorporating these seven easy strategies into your routine.

Whether it's a sore knee, a sore elbow, or a pulled muscle, exercise-related injuries are common amongst people of all ages. They can derail your fitness efforts, sometimes setting you back for weeks or months.

1. Choose a low-impact activity. While no activity completely eliminates the chance of injury, you're less more likely to get injured by doing low-impact exercise that puts less stress in your joints. Walking, swimming, or indoor cycling are great low-impact options, says Dr. Fritts. The highest risk of injury comes from contact sports, resembling football, ice hockey, basketball, or soccer. But injuries are also common in high-impact, non-contact sports, resembling running.

2. Choose the appropriate shoes. Blisters, foot pain, and joint injuries can sometimes be attributable to wearing the incorrect form of shoes. It's also easy to get into trouble in case your shoes don't fit properly. Try to match your shoes to your activity. If you're running, for instance, select shoes which have extra cushioning and support. If you're going for a hike, wear sturdy shoes that provide good traction and keep your feet stable. Ankle sprains will be attributable to poor form, mistakes, shoes that don't support the ankle, or exercising on uneven surfaces, says Dr. Fritts. If you might have foot pain, see your doctor. She may recommend custom orthotics or shoe inserts.

3. Start low, go slow. Start any recent exercise program slowly. If you're strength training, start with a small amount of weight and add more as you get stronger. The same is true of cardiovascular exercise. “Add time, then add frequency, and then gradually increase intensity,” says Dr. Frates. Too much, too soon can do more harm than good.

4. Loosening. Jump straight off the couch and don't go into high-intensity exercise, says Dr. Frates. Give your body time to regulate by doing a brief 5-minute warm-up. “The transition from being sedentary to vigorous activity is when you're at the highest risk of not only injury, but also heart attack,” she says. At the tip of a workout session, take five minutes to chill down slowly, she says.

5. Mix it up. Injuries can occur should you do the identical activity on a regular basis. For example, a one that plays golf six days every week could also be more liable to a form of tendinitis (inflammation or irritation of the tendon) called medial epicondylitis — higher referred to as golfer's elbow. The same is true of other activities resembling running and tennis, which frequently trigger repetitive strain injuries. Tennis players commonly develop one other form of tendinitis called lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), and runners suffer from iliotibial band syndrome, which causes pain on the surface of the knee, says Dr. Fritts. happens. Instead, try a cross-training approach. Play tennis, but additionally walk, swim or do yoga. Not only will this protect against repetitive strain injuries, but it’s going to also profit different parts of the body, which might help your overall fitness. “Working on all four types of exercise—aerobic, strength training, balance training, and flexibility—will help keep your body in good shape,” says Dr. Frates.

6. Check your form. Improper use of an exercise machine or weights can result in muscle or joint problems. Keeping your body in proper position if you're on the machine or doing strength training can keep you injury-free. If you're starting a brand new activity at your local gym, check in with an onsite trainer to make sure that you're using the equipment appropriately, says Frates. Also check proper form and body alignment within the mirror.

7. Drink. Staying well-hydrated during exercise can prevent you from experiencing dizziness or unsteadiness attributable to dehydration, which might result in falls. “Exercising when you're not well-nourished isn't even recommended, because you'll be weak and have trouble maintaining your balance, which could lead to injury,” says Dr. Fritts. can,” says Dr. Frates. Taking care of your overall health puts you in a greater position to reap the advantages of your exercise.

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