There is nothing more crushing for an athlete than having to miss a game or pull out of a race because of injury. Especially when you know there are steps you could have taken to prevent injuries from happening.

Waking up early, skipping cheat days, all that hard work has been for nothing.

Even if you’re not an “athlete” but you finally found the motivation to hit the gym and start getting into shape. It’s soul-destroying to watch that effort melt away.

But there are multiple things you can do to stop fitness-related injuries from happening. And if you follow them, you won’t have to delay that multi-day hike or miss that marathon ever again. You’ll always be in your prime physical fitness!

Here are eight top things you can do to prevent injuries.

1. Warm-up Before Every Exercise

Warm-up exercises may as well be called injury prevention exercises. Because that’s what they are. And no matter how unnecessary or pointless warm-up exercises seem, they are an absolutely essential and non-negotiable part of any workout routine.

If you’re a runner, start by jogging slowly on the spot for up to a minute. Then, do some dynamic stretches like lunges, leg swings, and touching your toes. You want to make sure your whole body is stretched out before you start your cardio exercises.

For those who prefer weight training or strength workouts, lunges and squats are a great place to start. Arm circles and hip rotations are also key to prevent injuries while lifting weights. Light cardio is a good warm-up before lifting weights, too.

2. Progress Your Training Gradually

Did you hear about the guy who spontaneously ran a marathon with no training, and woke up the next day with zero aches or pains? No, because that would never happen! If you did that, your body would be seriously punishing you for it later.

It’s tempting to push ourselves too far when we start a new training program because we want to see results right away. But that’s the best way to get multiple exercise injuries.

We’ve all seen those videos of people in the gym lifting weights too heavy for them. Either their form is wrong which will damage their body, or they drop the weights and cause injury to themselves or others.

Start small. And once you start crushing those exercises, you can progress. As long as you keep showing up, you’ll reach your fitness goals in the end.

3. Wear the Right Gear (Especially on Your Feet!)

You wouldn’t play basketball in a ballgown, but you also shouldn’t wear baseball shoes to play tennis. And it’s surprising how many do!

If you’re investing your time and energy into a sport or workout routine, then you also need to invest in the proper equipment and clothes to prevent sports injuries.

Let’s say you want to start cycling. Your normal workout clothes might work for one or two rides but if you want to commit, then you need the proper gear. Cycling shorts are padded for a reason.

That doesn’t mean you have to spend a small fortune on workout clothes. If you’re not overheating, straining, or damaging yourself in your gear then your clothes are probably okay.

A lot of sports gear shops and websites categorize their stock by sport. So if you’re new to the game, take a look at what they’re selling for that sport. That will give you a good idea of whether you’re wearing the right clothes or not.

4. Mix up Your Workout Routine

Sticking to the same exercise routine week after week is the fastest way to get workout injuries. If there is even a small issue with your form, you’re only going to put more strain on your body by repeating the same workouts.

Try mixing up your workout routine a little. You don’t have to change it drastically! It’s super easy if you have a gym membership because you can try different machines.

Do you usually start your workout routine with cardio on the treadmill? Try the elliptical instead, or the rowing machine.

5. Consume the Right Fuel

For those struggling with weight loss, consuming the right fuel is a common error of judgment. If you’re being active, no matter what the sport or exercise, you need to eat and drink well.

As they say, you can’t drive a car on an empty tank. The same goes for workouts! Not eating and drinking enough will lead to fatigue, nutrient deficits, fainting, or worse.

Make sure you’ve consumed at least 16 ounces of water before vigorous exercise, and that you have more to hand when you need it. And while you don’t want to eat a burger and immediately go for a run, you need to eat consistently throughout the day.

No matter what your fitness goals are, everyone needs a balance of carbs, protein, and nutrients. A protein shake or bar is a great idea after a workout, too.

6. Hire a Personal Trainer

Workouts, strength training, cardio, nutrition… It can be really overwhelming if you’ve never worked out properly before. And this lack of knowledge can quickly lead to gym injuries.

If you really want to commit to your fitness goals and want to prevent injuries from affecting your progress, hire a personal trainer. Not only will they be able to create your ideal workout plan and motivate you, but they will also ensure you don’t injure yourself.

7. Know Your Body Inside Out

We’ve all been told to “work through the pain” or “one more rep.” But if you’re experiencing extreme cramps, fatigue or pain then you need to stop, address the issue, and rest.

There is a difference between pushing yourself to progress within your body’s limits and pushing yourself too far.

You have to learn to be really honest with yourself. Can you do just one more rep? Or is it time to stop and recharge?

8. See a Medical Professional for Routine Physicals

Even if we do learn to listen to our bodies, nothing replaces a routine physical. If you’re a keen athlete, workout a lot, or making a huge lifestyle change, see a medical professional.

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort when you workout, definitely seek professional help for exercise injury treatment. There’s only so much an ice pack and painkillers can do before you need to address the underlying cause.

You only get one body so don’t take any chances.

Take Steps to Prevent Injuries and See Results

Even the most seasoned gym bunnies can forget the most basic training rules. And if you’re new to the gym or a sport, no one may have told you how to look after your body.

But hopefully, this is a welcome wake-up call so you can develop some positive habits to prevent injuries from happening in your workout or exercise routine.

Being active is great for your body, so let’s keep it that way!

Check out the rest of our website for more training and exercise routine tips.

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