Regular exercise is good for your body and safe for most everyone. However, with any type of activity there is a chance you could get hurt. Exercise injuries can range from strains and sprains to back pain.
With a little planning, you can prevent injury and stay safe during exercise.
Some of the most common causes of exercise injuries include:
- Exercising before your body has warmed up
- Repeating the same motion over and over again
- Not having proper form for your exercise
- Not resting in between workouts
- Pushing your body too hard or too quickly
- Doing an exercise that is too strenuous for your level of fitness
- Not using proper equipment
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Warm Up and Cool Down
Warming up before exercise gets your blood flowing, warms up your muscles, and helps you avoid injury. The easiest way to warm up is to exercise slowly for the first few minutes, then pick up the pace. For example, before running, walk briskly for 5 to 10 minutes.
You should also cool down after exercise to bring your heart rate and body temperature back to normal. Cool down by ending your routine at a slower pace for the last 5 to 10 minutes.
To Stretch or Not to Stretch
To stay flexible, you should stretch at least 2 times a week. You can stretch either after you have warmed up or after you exercise. Doing it wrong may be harmful for your muscles, so:
- DO NOT stretch cold muscles.
- DO NOT hold stretches for no longer than 15 to 30 seconds.
- DO NOT bounce.
Using proper equipment can greatly reduce your risk of injury
Safety equipment for your sport may include:
- Mouth guards
- Shin guards or other protective guards
Be sure you use the right type of equipment for your sport. For example, DO NOT play tennis in running shoes. Wear a ski helmet, not a bike helmet, when downhill skiing.
Make sure your exercise equipment:
- Fits you properly
- Is the right design for your sport or activity
- Is in good working condition
- Is used correctly and consistently
To help prevent overuse injuries, vary your workouts. For example, instead of running 3 days a week, cycle one 1 day and run 2. You will use a different set of muscles, and still get a good workout.
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