From beginners to athletes, everyone is prone to injury. The more active you are, the higher your chances are of getting injured. As you get older, your body needs more maintenance. Think of all the miles you’ve logged in over the years and the wear and tear you’ve put it through. You’re not a teenager any more. It takes a lot longer to heal and to recover from your workouts. You’re also working longer hours and your posture has taken its toll with the endless amount of sitting. The good news is that it’s not too late to fix these issues. The earlier you start, the better. If you wait too long, you increase your risk of injuries and body malfunctioning. Here are 4 tips you can use to help you train smarter.
1.Ease into the fitness activity and be patient
It may have been months or longer that you have not exercised. Don’t expect to pick up right where you left off. You’re going to get hurt if you’re not mindful of your physical condition. Whether it’s running or a fitness class you have never tried, it’s important to ease back into the activity and not kill yourself in the process. Your strength and endurance will improve one day at a time.
2. Cross train, cross train, cross train!
This is one of the biggest reasons why people get injured. They do mostly one activity and nothing else. It’s imperative that you cross train with other activities such as strength training, spinning, rowing, etc. to work on those muscle imbalances and to keep your joints healthy. If you’re a runner, you need to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, core and back which often get neglected. If all you do is Crossfit or HIIT classes (high intensity interval training), you need to cross train on other days with something less jarring such as yoga, pilates, swimming, rowing, etc. Those classes are such high impact on your joints that your ankles,knees,shoulders and back can only take so much. Our bodies are not meant to operate at 110% seven days a week.
3. Mobility is key
This is a huge part of maintenance. Without mobility, your body will start breaking down in the form of aches and pains and eventually, injury. Everyone has different tightness issues so work on what you need. You should always warmup with dynamic stretches and cool down with static stretching after your workouts. On the days you’re not working out, I would highly suggest you continue to mobilize. If you’re sitting at a desk all day long, get up as often as possible to release your spine. If you’re carrying heavy shoulder bags, you need to do some overhead stretches and downward facing dog to alleviate tension in your upper body. Invest in a good foam roller to roll out any knots and open up your thoracic mobility. You can also use a tennis or lacrosse ball to dig deeper into those knots. Try a yoga class. You’ll feel amazing afterwards.
4. Fix your posture
Technology these days have caused most of society to become more sedentary. Sitting for extended periods of time will wreak havoc on your posture. Get up from your desk every hour even if you’re sitting right back down. Your spine will thank you for it. Take a break from your smart phone every now and then. Your eyes will love you for that. There are specific exercises you can do for your posture such as scapular retractions (shoulder pushups), scarecrows and supermans. I will go into further details in the future in a separate post. One simple stretch you can do in the meantime is to reach your arms behind you, interlace your fingers and open up your chest.
Your body is your temple. Take care of it and give it the love that it needs. Too often, I have seen people jump into a fitness program without being mindful of their body’s capabilities. Injuries are inevitable in those cases. You can avoid this by using these tips and working on a healthy balance. You’re not a machine. Respect your body.