Injury Prevention 101
With summer fast approaching, many are also motivated to get in better shape and start jumping into new fitness routines. This is also the time of year that our doctors, physiotherapists and exercise therapists see an increase in sport-related injuries – many of which are easily avoidable. Having dealt with many injuries, our highly qualified team has come together to compile a list of our top tips for injury prevention.
With the weather finally warming up after a long and cold winter, there seems to be a renewed sense of energy fuelling the city. After a long period of hibernation, this is the time of year that many companies start organizing corporate sports leagues in an effort to inspire their employees to live a healthier lifestyle. With summer fast approaching, many are also motivated to get in better shape and start jumping into new fitness routines. Though there are many positive things associated with physical activity and we strongly encourage it, this is also the time of year that our doctors, physiotherapists and exercise therapists see an increase in sport-related injuries – many of which are easily avoidable. Having dealt with many injuries, our highly qualified team has come together to compile a list of our top tips for injury prevention.
1 – Be realistic with your goals. It’s natural to want to jump head first into a new fitness routine in hopes of seeing immediate results, but if you haven’t worked out in a while, don’t expect to be able to lift, run or stretch the same way you did a few months ago. Which leads us to our next point.
2 – Start slow and build up. Injuries often happen when you push yourself too hard, too fast. By pushing too hard in the beginning, you also run the risk of overdoing it and ending up so sore that you give up on your new exercise venture. So, pace yourself. Start with 1-2 moderate workouts the first week, listen to your body, and progress accordingly.
3 – Be strategic when choosing your workouts. Do you have sore knees when you run? Choose a low impact exercise such as XBody or swimming to help build muscle and develop your cardiovascular system without placing additional stress on your joints.
4 – Start with a proper dynamic warm up. To get the blood flowing to all of your muscles and joints, Exercise Therapist Michelle Prather recommends starting with some leg and arm swings, gentle squats, walking lunges or 4-7 minutes of walking.
5 – Wear the appropriate equipment. If you’re joining a sports team, make sure you wear appropriate and properly fitting protective equipment (pads, helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, eyewear) and ensure you have good quality running shoes. Did you know if you’re using them every day, your running shoes should be replaced at minimum once per year for good support?
6 – Learn the proper techniques. It’s natural to start losing muscle mass at the age of 30 and though we strongly encourage lifting weights and using resistance in your training as you get older, doing it incorrectly can often result in a strain or injury. Similarly, if you’re jumping on your bike, ensure the seats and handlebars are positioned correctly. We highly recommend working with a professional to ensure you are performing exercises effectively and safely. This will also help you get better results.
7 – Vary your workouts. By mixing things up your body will better learn how to adapt and you’re also less likely to lose interest. There are so many different options – HIIT, cardio, XBody, strength training, yoga – so mix it up and find a routine you love.
8 – Proper cool down. Save stretching for the end of your workout when your muscles are warm and there is less chance of injuring them. Stretching will also increase flexibility and prevent injuries further down the road.
We encourage you to follow these simple yet effective tips while exploring all of the fitness and health possibilities available. There is no better time than now to start living your best life. If you’re looking to start a new fitness routine or elevate your existing one, reach out to our Exercise Therapist Michelle Prather. If you do experience an injury or nagging pain while being active, do not hesitate to get in touch. We have a team of dedicated physiotherapists ready to help.