There’s nothing more annoying than having a great session in the gym or playing your favourite sport, to then get home and realise that you’ve given yourself an injury that may prevent you from exercising whilst you recover. 

Sometimes you won’t be able to avoid an injury, but there are many things that we can do to make this much less likely. Here are 5 tips for helping to reduce exercise related injuries.

Warm up and cool down

An essential part of exercising is to warm up and cool down correctly, which is something that many people seem to miss out of their routine. Preparing your body for exercise with a few simple moves and then doing the same again when you have finished will help to stretch out your joints and muscles in readiness for working them hard during your sport or work out. Going in cold will make it more likely that your body is not ready for exercise and will not offer the flexibility that you need. 

Have a rest day

As important as it is to push your body when you exercise, it is just as important to let it rest and recover. Many call this a rest day, where you split up the week with days when you avoid any strenuous movements to let your muscles and joints relax. Some light stretching may help to keep you supple on these days, but continuing to push your body to the limit on a daily basis is certainly not advised. 

Stretch, stretch, stretch

In the same way as you warm up and cool down, the muscles and joints should be worked carefully with stretching between bursts of energy and activity. It will help you to stay flexible and increase the blood flow around the body. Holding a stretch can really help to strengthen your body and can be used on rest days to help keep your limbs supple without overworking them. 

Use the correct stance

One of the main ways that you can avoid injury is to ensure that you use the correct stance at all times. For instance, if you are weight lifting, you must make sure that you are bending from your knees and not the back. Listen carefully to what your trainer or coach tells you, as they will be trying to prepare you for exercising safely and efficiently. Don’t lift more than you can handle and try not to twist or bend unnecessarily. 

Don’t overdo it

In order to see improvement from your work out or sports activity, you will be tempted to push yourself to your limits, but this can cause you great harm if you go in too hard. Build up your strength and stamina slowly, enabling your body to get used to what you are putting it through, then combine that with the appropriate amount of rest. Going in too hard, too soon, will only aggravate old injuries and create new ones, which could leave you on the sidelines for a long period of time and even count you out altogether.