How to prevent muscle injuries

Staying active is fun but if you practice a sport or do any physical activity, there is a possibility that, at some point, you may be injured. Here are some ways you can avoid injuries.

Heating
Warming up before you start exercising prepares the body, not only physically but also mentally. You may think you do not have time for warm-up before exercising, but warm-up has several benefits, such as:

  • increased blood and oxygen flow to the muscles.
  • greater flexibility (if you stretch)
  • greater relaxation and concentration

Your warm-up should include different types of exercise, such as jogging, gentle stretching and a little resistance exercise. It is very important to stretch the muscles that you will use during your exercise. The duration of the warm-up and its intensity will depend on the level of exercise you are going to do. In general, it should last at least 15 minutes, enough time to start sweating but without feeling tired.

Stretching
Stretching before and after exercise can improve your flexibility and prevent injury. Many of the most common sports injuries are due, in part, to a lack of flexibility. Stretch your muscles gently and slowly, to the point of tension and keep them stretched for at least 30 seconds. You should feel a sense of stretch rather than pain. When you keep your muscles stretched make sure you do not bounce: you should try to stay as still as possible.

Stretching will especially benefit the muscles of:

  • the calves
  • the thighs (quadriceps)
  • the posterior thighs (hamstrings)
  • the back

Use of the correct equipment
There are hundreds of different models of shoes in the market and knowing which ones to buy can be overwhelming. The best shoes are those that adapt to the shape of your feet. If you are not sure if you are wearing the right shoes for you, it is a good idea to take them to a sports specialty store and ask for advice. Some stores have experienced advisors who can observe while you are running and recommend the right shoes for you. If possible, bring a pair of old shoes with you so that the assessor can analyze how they have worn out.

If the activity of your choice implies that you are more likely to be injured, either by falling off your bike or hitting your head with a ball, you should wear protective gear. There is a huge variety of products on the market to protect almost any part of your body: from helmets and mouth guards to shells and shin guards. But it is not enough to use protection: you must make sure that it fits properly and take care not to take additional risks.

Technique
There is no point in trying to exercise if you have a bad technique, as this is an almost infallible way to end up injured. Try to learn the right skills when you start a new sport in order to incorporate the correct practice. If you are a member of a gym, you can speak with a staff member to show you how to use the equipment safely and effectively. This is especially important if you use weights.

Know your limit
When you exercise, it is important that you listen to your body and know when to stop. If you have not exercised in a while, start slowly and increase how much you do gradually. This will help prevent a pulled or stretched muscle.

Cooling
Recovery is an essential part of any training program and it is important to help maximize performance and reduce your risk of injury.

After exercising try to perform between five to 15 minutes of cooling. This involves a gentle activity, such as walking and stretching the muscles you used while exercising. Some people believe that stretching after exercise reduces muscle pain the next day, but there is little evidence to support this theory. However, stretching improves and maintains flexibility, which can help prevent injuries.

Stay hydrated
When you exercise you can lose a lot of fluid, especially if you are exercising in a hot environment. Making sure you replenish the fluids you have lost during exercise is an essential part of recovery.

Nutrition
Eating the right foods after a workout will help you recover by replenishing your energy and providing protein to help rebuild and repair any damaged muscle tissue. If you do not eat enough carbohydrates, your body will get the energy of fats and proteins when you exercise and you will feel fatigued and this can cause an injury.

Ice baths
Although it may seem strange, you may have heard that the athletes sit in ice baths after completing an entry.

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