How to avoid common workout injuries

164_HealthYou’ve finally gotten into the groove of your new exercise regime. You’re hitting the treadmill, lifting weights, swimming and so much more. Already you’re feeling the benefits of what a consistent exercise routine can do for your body and general disposition. But then the unthinkable happens – injury. When we get into the groove of exercising, it’s easy to forget that our bodies can break down. The truth is that we need to be mindful, because an injury can bring a routine to a screeching hault. And once you’re out of the exercise habit, it may take you weeks or even months to get back into it. Here are some of the most common exercise injuries, and how to avoid them and keep up with your workout routine.

Ankle Sprain

All of us have twisted an ankle at some point, and when you run it’s even more likely you’ll fall victim to this very common injury. Just because you’re on a treadmill doesn’t mean you’re immune.

The problem is that when we run, especially for long periods, it can be very easy to lose focus. But whether you’re zoning out to your favorite tunes or simply daydreaming, mental lapses can lead to trips and slips. And when that happens, taking a wrong step and twisting your ankle is more likely.

SOLUTION: Many treadmills now have a safety key, which is a clip that attaches to your outfit from the treadmill. If you take an awkward step or fall, it will stop the treadmill automatically. The clip is there for a reason, so use it.

If you’re running outside, stick to level sidewalks or park paths. Whatever the makeup of the path (dirt, pavement, etc.), make sure it’s smooth and free of potholes. You should also avoid skipping up and down curbs, as this is a prime obstacle that can cause you to misstep and sprain your ankle.

Shin Splints

A shin splint is acute pain in your shins – often along the inner edge of your shinbone. This pain can be caused by muscle inflammation or stress fractures. They’re common in women who do frequent running or jumping exercises. And you’re more likely to get them if you’re running on uneven terrain, hard concrete, or up and downhill. Some women have a higher tendency toward this injury than others.

SOLUTION: Ease into your workout. Do some light cardio exercise, like jumping jacks, to warm up your body instead of diving straight into a run. Also, wear proper shoes and increase your workout intensity gradually, week by week.

Lower back strain

Sudden sharp twists or bends to your back, as well as poor form when doing squats and deadlifts, can cause lower back pain to rear its ugly head. At its worse, severe lower back injury can be disk herniation and nerve compression.

SOLUTION: Get your form right before adding weight to squats and other exercises that rely heavily on your back. To do this, learn to find the neutral form of your spine. You can do this by lying flat on your back with feet flat on the floor and knees bent. You’ll know you’re doing this correctly when your lower abs are flat and there’s a slight curve of your lower spine, which is now off the floor. Your neck is also off the floor with a slight curve under it as well. If you need additional help finding the correct form, consult with one of our qualified personal trainers or staff.

These are just a few of many common injuries that we need to be aware of while exercising. To learn more about these and other common workout injuries, contact us today.

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