Don’t Get Hurt Trying to Improve your Health

Unfortunately, this happens more often than you might think. Someone decides they’re finally going to get in shape, take up a new sport or even kick their current activities up a notch. The next thing they know, they’re sidelined with an injury.

But that doesn’t mean you should stay away from exercise just because you haven’t been active recently. The health benefits from a daily workout routine far outweigh any risk of injury. In fact, many sport-related injuries can be avoided altogether, just by following a few simple steps.

Time to call your doctor

Most people don’t think about seeing their doctor until they’re sick or injured. But preventative medicine can be the best kind, and your doctor can make sure you don’t have any underlying illnesses or conditions that would restrict your activity in any way. This is an important step no matter what age you are, but it is especially important if you’re overweight or have been sedentary for some time.

Don’t stretch your warm up

Most people know that warming up before any kind of physical activity is a good way to prevent injury. But many mistakenly think that stretching is the way to go. Stretching may have some benefits on its own, but a dynamic warm up that prepares the muscles for your upcoming activity is more likely to prevent injuries. This would include moves such as standing straight-leg raises, jumping jacks, heel kicks and walking lunges.

Slow and steady always wins

Doing too much too soon is another common reason for sports-related injuries. Whether you’re wanting to prove that you’re in better shape than you seem or you’re looking for faster results, or you just get caught up in the excitement of being active again, nothing will sideline you faster than overusing muscles and ligaments that haven’t seen much action lately. Instead, start any new activity at a moderate intensity, don’t push yourself to the point of exhaustion and allow sufficient recovery time in between workouts.

Pain doesn’t always mean gain

Once you’ve settled into a bit of routine, you may feel like you’re ready to kick things up a notch. But you still need to proceed cautiously and learn to listen to your body. If you experience any type of new pain that doesn’t subside after a day or two of rest, you may need to dial back your activity. If it worsens or continues to linger, it’s probably best to see your doctor.

Get help before you give in

Some people get so overwhelmed trying to figure out where to begin or if they’re doing things the right way, they end up not even trying or giving up after only a few days. If worrying about a potential injury is keeping you from even starting a new activity, try working with a trainer. They can walk you through the basics to get you started and boost your confidence until you’ve established a routine.

Of course, no one wants to experience an injury. But many of the most common sports-related injuries can be avoided, so don’t let that keep you from starting an exercise program or trying a new sport. Just start out by checking in with your doctor and following a few common sense rules.

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Rock and Roller

The Foam Roller can be a life saver when it comes to stretching and helping with minor injuries. Rolling your body over foam cylinders can improve flexibility, reduce post-workout soreness, prevent sports injuries and even alleviate chronic pain.The foam roller is a great tool for lengthening and elongating muscles and is especially helpful for runners who often suffer from tight and fatigued muscles. The foam roller will also massage the muscles intensely, similar to what a massage therapist will do without the cost to visit one.

Foam roller therapy is also often called self-myofascial release. It has been shown to improve range of motion in the knee and hip, and to ease muscle soreness after exercise. Myofascial release comes from a theory that pressure from the rollers breaks up tight spots in muscles and the connective tissue that surrounds them, the fascia. In combination with regular stretching, using a foam roller can be more effective in improving flexibility.

The foam roller should not replace proper stretching, warming up and cooling down, but it can be used as a tool to limit soreness and tightness through increased blood flow and flexibility. By using the roller, you can help to also avoid injuries. The iliotibial band (IT band), the band that runs on the outside of the leg from the hip to just below the knee is one of the areas in the body that can be prone to injury. By rolling the foam roller on the side of the leg (slowly back and forth) towards the top of the leg, specifically where the quad where it meets the IT band it will help to increase blood flow and circulation, aiding in healing and preventing injury.

Here are 4 Foam Roller Stretches to try:

Lower Back Pain
Looser hamstrings will help with back pain. Sit on a foam roller with your legs stretched out. Support yourself with your hands on the floor behind you. Position yourself so that the roller is directly under your hamstrings. Slowly roll forwards and back from the base of your glutes to the bend in your knee for approximately 30 seconds.

Runner’s Knee
Roll your iliotibial band (the muscle on the outside of your leg from your hip to your knee). Lie on your side and slip the roller under your thigh. Cross your other foot over and put it on the floor. Roll back and forth for 30 seconds from the bottom of your hip to just above your knee.

Tight quads can tug on your patellar tendons, causing pain around your knees. Lie on your stomach with the roller placed under your thighs. Holding the body straight, roll yourself back and forth from hip to mid-thigh for 30 seconds.

Upper Back Pain
Lie on your back and place the foam roller beneath your neck, near your shoulder blades. Your feet and backside should be on the ground and your hands behind your head. Brace your abs and slowly work the roller for 30 seconds up and down from your shoulder blades to your middle back (not your lower back).

If you add the foam roller in combination with static stretching you will notice results. Massage your own muscles and boost your performance with a foam roller. Have your trainer work it into your warm up and post workout.

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