Fitness Safety--5 How-tos!

sure ways to avoid injury during exercise..

(Note: If you have health issues, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.)

While exercise is such a key to improved health, overall wellness & supreme bodily function, the act of injury during exercise can prevent you from being able to exercise at all (whether temporarily, or permanently), rendering your health at risk once again, taking you right back to where you were in the first place..

So how can you guarantee a risk-free, safe exercise session?

Here are 5 specific ways to avoid sports (or any other exercise-induced) injuries:

1) Consider the "elements" when working-out outside. When running, jogging, sporting, or the like, under direct sunlight, you run the risk of more imminent dehydration from the sun. Carry water with you at all times & drink at frequent intervals to stay hydrated. The use of sunscreen, shades, hats, etc. are also among the more obvious forms of lessening the sun's potentially harmful effects..

2) Warm Up! Going into your workout routine/sporting event gradually, is one of the surest ways to avoid injury. Slowly bringing blood (& thus, oxygen) to the various muscle groups, as well as slowly increasing your heart rate, is of utmost importance. The act of warming up the muscles prevents wear & tear, preparing the joints for start-stop action required in many sports such as basketball, racket sports like tennis, squash, etc.

In the case of bodybuilders/resistance trainers, warming up with a simple exercise routine (such as walking or a light jog) for as little as 10-20 minutes loosens the muscles, bringing elasticity into the muscle groups you'll be targeting, not only increasing your performance during the weight/resistance segment of your workout, but also preventing pain, tear & other forms of injury.

3) Listen to your body. Despite your desire to push yourself to or past a certain goal you may have set for yourself, your body won't lie to you. Extreme fatigue, nagging or sharp pains, shortness of breath, or dizziness may be signs that you're pushing yourself just past the point that is good for you--or that you're on the verge of injuring the same muscles you're trying to strengthen. Pushing through acute pain is the surest way to develop a severe or chronic injury.

4) Take breaks.--Both during exercise sessions & in-between days that you choose to exercise.. Rest during exercise keeps the muscles from overworking themselves & days of "down time" between workout days allow your muscles to fully recover from the heightened state of work-mode your muscles are in during exercise. Rest periods are also the time when muscle growth is heightened. General recommendations range from 2-4 days of rest per week, with 3-4 days of the week being used for exercise.

5) Cool down AND Stretch. Equally important, but often not as observed, is the need for cool down after full or extensive exercise sessions. Just as warm up is needed to bring your heart rate up slowly, cooling down brings the heart rate back down at a gradual pace.

Stretching after exercise is also important. When you do cardiovascular or resistance exercises, this causes your muscles to contract, which builds and strengthens them. But they also need to be stretched in order to prevent the muscles from staying contracted, as well as for the strengthening process to be complete. Cool down exercises can include, light walking or jogging on a treadmill, slow/low-impact aerobic-type exercises, deep breathing exercises, as well as slow, static stretches of the muscle groups previously worked when exercising.

Make a habit of making good use of these tips/methods & your body will thank you over time..

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