7 ways to reduce the risk of injury
Monday, february 7, 2022 You will read this text in min.
Avoiding injury is one of the most important aspects of a healthy and active lifestyle. This applies to all sports and all levels of advancement. Unfortunately, various injuries very often force us to take a break from training.
At best, to give up some exercises with the necessity to replace them with easier or even "rehabilitation" versions, and at worst, to give up practically completely the training of a given body part or the use of a specific movement pattern.
Fortunately, you can successfully avoid injuries with a few simple steps. Below you will find out what activities you should introduce into your routine starting from today in order to constantly enjoy full health and systematically improve your form – without unplanned breaks from training.
Don't skip the warm-up
This is the golden rule for everyone involved in sports, regardless of the type of physical activity they choose. You should never begin a training session without proper preparation, and thus warm-up. Its purpose is initially to warm up the whole body (general warm-up), and then focus on individual muscle groups participating in the actual training (specialist warm-up).
Remember that muscles that aren’t warmed up are much more prone to tearing. Always try to spend about 15 minutes on a proper warm-up, including dynamic stretching (but not static stretching). You can learn why dynamic stretching is so important in this article. Failing to warm up is one of the main causes of injury during training.
The most important benefits of a properly conducted warm-up are:
- minimizing the risk of injuries,
- raising the overall body temperature,
- increasing the range of motion in the joints,
- warming up the muscles,
- improvement of blood circulation,
- oxygenation of the body,
- activation of the central nervous system (CNS),
- stimulating the secretion of hormones,
- increasing the flexibility of joints and ligaments,
- focusing the mind on the exercises performed,
- reduction of soreness and DOMS after training.
If you want to learn more about how to warm up, see this article.
Learn the correct technique
Before you start putting your new training plan into practice always make sure you know the correct exercise technique. Get to know all the tips related to issues such as: the distance between the feet and hands, the width and type of grip, the right pace of the exercise, time under tension (TUT), etc. Concentrate on muscular sensation, and don’t blindly follow an exercise pattern in the same way if you have trouble locating the muscles you should be feeling while doing it.
Watch instructional videos and photos, read atlases on your chosen discipline (e.g. strength training or bodybuilding), sign up for classes with a certified personal trainer who will show you what the right exercise technique should look like – educate yourself. This will allow you to acquire the appropriate skills from the very beginning of your adventure with sport, thus reducing the risk of future injuries.
Keep your body hydrated
Many people may experience mild dehydration chronically without even realizing it. Life in a constant hurry, excess responsibilities and a small amount of time to maintain a healthy routine, unfortunately, are very conducive to this. Again and again we leave the house without breakfast and not eat until late afternoon, just as often we drink only a few sips of coffee before leaving the house and absorbed in our activities, we don’t remember to regularly replenish fluids in the body during the day. If we add a training session to this equation, immediately after work or after school, while we haven’t kept our body hydrated throughout the day, we basically ask for an injury.
During intense exercise, we will also sweat a certain amount of water and electrolytes. The latter are salt ions necessary for life and extremely important for the proper functioning of the brain, heart and body. The most important of them are:
Introduce a properly balanced diet
A properly balanced diet with wisely planned meals is as important as a well-thought-out training plan. One doesn’t exist without the other, and both always influence each other. If you train hard – you need more food (fuel). When you eat too little – you have no strength in training.
In addition, the time you eat is very important, as too short a break between meal and training will make you sluggish and inefficient. On the other hand, too long a break will affect the persistent feeling of hunger during training, which will lead to the fact that the only thing you will think about is to finish the training as soon as possible and finally eat something.
Also, remember to consume the right amount of protein, which is the main building component of the body, including muscles. In addition, it is necessary for your regeneration to take place at an optimal pace, which also translates into minimizing the risk of injuries.
Make changes to your training and exercise
Applying the same training plan for several weeks, trying to take care of progress, has its huge advantages and is the absolute basis in the fight for a great figure. However, there is also a major disadvantage associated with this, which is soft tissue injuries caused by repetitive movement patterns under heavy and constantly increasing stress.
That is why it is worth changing the exercises in the training plan every few weeks to give a rest to the delicate structures of the body, which are: joints, tendons and ligaments. This will prevent their further wear and reduce the risk of injuries. Thanks to this procedure, the tissues “damaged” by the old plan will have the opportunity to regenerate, and the muscles will be surprised by a new stimulus, creating ideal conditions for their development (hypertrophy).
You should always remember that with each training unit the muscles adapt to the new conditions that we have created for them.
Don't skip the rest days
When you are preoccupied with your training goal, you can stay in "machine mode" for weeks, even months, without even wondering if you are tired. You may think that a day or two off from training will slow down your progress. Nothing could be more wrong! These days are invaluable and their effect is quite the opposite – they allow you to regenerate muscle tissue, joints, ligaments, the central nervous system (CNS), and this in turn will contribute to the increase of strength and muscles.
One day off from training every 3 to 5 training days is even recommended. If you experience prolonged muscle pain or feel burned out, take more time off or adjust your training plan to suit your recovery capacity. Training while exhausted and/or sore increases the risk of injury.
Listen to your own body
This is one of the most important advice that can be given not only during sports – if an exercise hurts you, stop doing it and find the cause. Sometimes it may be due to mobility problems, poor body positioning, improper technique, acquired injury or lack of adequate regeneration.
Never continue the effort when you feel that the pain that has appeared is not a typical muscle pain accompanying strength training and results, for example, from damage to a given structure in the locomotor apparatus. By wading through exercise that causes pain and discomfort, you risk an injury that, at best, may exclude you from performing certain exercises and activities, and at worst may exclude you from training for long periods of time. Analyze what went wrong, and if that doesn't help – talk to a professional trainer.
Many people don't realize how easy it is to get injured during training until they experience it the hard way. Some people choose not to warm up, believing it to be a waste of time and an activity only for newbies. This is not true, on the contrary – a warm-up is the basis for safe training and taking care of your own health.
The same applies to learning the correct technique of performing the exercises, where you should remember that everyone started from scratch and it is better to start with professional help by your side.
Keeping the body hydrated together with a properly balanced diet also has a significant impact on better tissue regeneration and greater efficiency during training.
Planning changes to exercise and training volume in mesocycles, and sticking to recovery days are absolutely essential to stay in tune with your body and not sabotage the progress that will come with the above guidelines.
- Close, G. L., Sale, C., Baar, K., and Bermon, S. (2019, March 1). “Nutrition for the Prevention and Treatment of Injuries in Track and Field Athletes”. International Journal of Sport Nutrition, 29(2): 189-197.
- Papadopoulou, S. K. (2020, August 14). “Rehabilitation Nutrition for Injury Recovery of Athletes: The Role of Macronutrient Intake”. Nutrients, 12(8): 2449.
- Shrimanker, I., and Bhattarai, S. (2021, July 26). “Electrolytes”. Treasure Island, StatPearls Publishing.
- Woods, K., Bishop, P., and Jones, E. (2007, October). “Warm-up and stretching in the prevention of muscular injury”. Sports Medicine, 37(12): 1089-1099.