This time of the year, we often get many clients who come in sporting a workout-related injury. Pledging to join a gym is a common new year’s resolution, and those who are inexperienced and don’t take the time to learn the best way to use the gym equipment are our most common patients. Don’t be discouraged, however! Here are some tips to help you avoid injuring yourself during your next workout session.
Muscles and joints need to be loosened up before being put under great stress. (in this case, stress comes in the form of weights) A proper warm up gets blood flowing to the areas of the body that need it the most, not only supplying it with extra nutrients but also expediting waste removal. When your muscles stretch, they build up a ton of chemical waste products and carbon dioxide, which causes cramps if left to build up. More blood flow to that area can help prevent cramping because of a higher rate of waste removal. This important benefit of stretching is often overlooked by many. Don’t just focus on stretching the muscles and parts that you think you will use the most. Spend an equal amount of time on all muscles, as everything needs to work together, despite that might be stated on the equipment.
During Your Workout
Muscles demand oxygen constantly, and they require it in order to continue functioning. In high stress situations, like during a workout, the rate of oxygen consumption goes through the roof, driving up your heart rate and breathing as your body desperately tries to keep your muscles supplied. Don’t fight this! Many people tend to forget about rhythmical breathing during sets, or don’t breathe properly when running. Its crucial to focus and breathe consistently and rhythmically for best results. If you listen to music while working out, pick some tracks that you can easily synchronize your breathing to. Your muscles will thank you for it, and you’ll thank yourself the following day when you realize you aren’t so sore!
After a workout session, don’t immediately sit down in front of a computer and start surfing away. A proper cool down is just as important as a proper warm up. Without a cool down session, your muscles will stay in their stressed and alert state, which means waste products continue to be produced and oxygen consumption remains high, leading to cramps and potential injuries. Stretch out your muscles afterwards, or slow down to a walk for a few minutes at least to encourage your blood rate to lower back down to normal and to give your body a well deserved break! Finally, replenish lost minerals and nutrients by drinking something rich in electrolytes.
Injuries happen, but proper education and preparation can help reduce their rate and severity. Stargate Physio is here to help! Give us call at 403-452-2721 today.