Regardless of whether you’re totally new to the world of movement or you’re a gym veteran, it’s so important to take proactive steps to avoid injuring yourself when exercising. Injury prevention becomes increasingly important as you get older, as not only does it become easier to injure yourself, but recovery periods also take longer.
To ensure you stay safe when exercising (while still being able to get a great workout in), we’ve put together some tips for how you can avoid the dreaded strains, niggles, breaks and aches.
1. Warm up and cool down
Remembering to warm up before your workout and cool down after are key players in ensuring you stay injury-free. Warming up will wake up your body’s cardiovascular system by raising your body temperature and increasing the blood flowing to your muscles. It also warms up your muscles and lets them know it’s time to move.
After your workout, cooling down tells your body it’s time to relax. This is the perfect opportunity to stretch out your muscles while they are still warm, reducing post workout soreness and promoting recovery. It also allows your heart rate and blood pressure to recover gradually.
It is important to ensure your warm up movements are dynamic (moving) in nature, and your cool down movements static (still/stationary).
2. Foam Rolling
Foam-rolling (or self-myofascial release) is also a great way to prevent DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Grab a foam roller after your next workout and iron out those tiny little fascia muscles by rolling your quadriceps, glutes, back, shoulders and calves. It may be painful, but we promise it will be so worth it! Just remember to go slow and take your time on each body part to get the full benefit.
3. Focus on resistance training
Unfortunately, our bone density and muscle mass drops rapidly after 50. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean there’s nothing we can do about it! Resistance training (lifting weights) is a great way to prevent falls and fractures through strengthening our muscles and bones. In fact, strength training can actually increase bone density (especially in women going through menopause). When we’re stronger, we’re more balanced and more able to support ourselves in daily activities, leaving us less likely to suffer from accidents and injuries as we age.
4. Don’t be afraid to have a rest if you need to
It’s really important to use common sense here. If you’re feeling extremely sore, stiff or achey – it’s simple, take a rest! The muscles in your body need time to recover after each workout, and tissue recovery actually takes more time and effort when we reach 50.
Although the amount of time you need to recover will initially depend on your baseline fitness level, you need to pay attention to how you’re feeling as you progress. If you find you’re feeling constantly sore throughout your workouts (and the days after) then it may be indicative that you need more time to recover. So take advantage of the active recovery and go for a walk, have a stretch or even indulge in a massage!
5. Get help from a personal trainer
If you’re new to the gym, or if you’re just looking to brush up on your technique, then booking a few sessions with a personal trainer could be a great idea. Even scheduling in to have regular sessions could see you looking and feeling the best you’ve ever felt – injury-free!
A personal trainer will be able to assess your current fitness levels and your future goals to make sure you’re working out in the most effective way for you. Best of all, they’ll be able to monitor your movement, your form and your progress to ensure you’re performing each exercise properly.
Anytime Fitness have qualified personal trainers in-club to help keep you safe and healthy during your fitness regime. Enquire at reception about our PT packages next time you are in-club, or, if you’re not already a member, try us for free!