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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With the start of the nice weather, we’re eager to get out in the garden and get our planting done. After a long winter cooped up inside we get excited to spend time outside in our gardens. But, without the proper techniques and getting your body ready for the work, many injuries and strains can happen. Gardening uses muscles that we don’t often use and after a season or so of them resting, getting right back into it without a proper warm up and stretching can cause strains or muscle soreness.

Getting active and working out several weeks prior to the start of gardening season, is the best way to eliminate the chance of injury. It is also important to begin stretching your back, legs, arms and even your hands and feet to prevent soreness. Simple stretches such as lying flat on the floor, bringing your knees up to your chest and holding them there with your arms. Hold for a minute, then relax and repeat. Also try standing up straight then slowly bending at the waist to touch your toes. Before each gardening session, you should get your body warmed up with 10 to 15 minutes of brisk walking or other activities that get your blood flowing.

Lifting and digging in the garden also needs to be done properly so you avoid injury. When lifting, keep your back straight, bend from your knees and use your legs not your back to lift. Bend your knees as you dig. Use your largest muscle, your legs, and make sure you alternate between a right-handed and left-handed stance.

To save some of the heavy lifting or save you from over working the back, choose the right tools that can help you in the garden. Wheelbarrows, weed pullers, garden claws, longer handled shovels and spades, and rakes. Using the proper tools will help you keep a straighter back and eliminate working in a hunched over position. Try to keep your time working in the garden to 30 minute sessions with rest periods so to not over do it on your muscles.

Working in your garden is also a great way to get in your daily exercise and staying fit. You can add resistance to your gardening moves in the form of light weights. Raking, weeding, digging and pruning are great forms of exercise while you are out in the garden. Even mowing the lawn is a great form of exercise as you are pushing the lawn mower (weighted object) and walking. Digging is a great way to use the major muscle groups in your core and legs. Even sitting and weeding includes stretching and bending which will improve flexibility.

Every good workout, a garden workout included, should finish with a cool down session and stretching. Be garden smart. Stretch, warm up, and use the right tools to get the work done in your garden so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor injury free.

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Roll With It

There are many reasons why massaging out the tight knots in muscles is an important part of your workout routine, even if you already stretch regularly. No matter how much you stretch, there is a build of fascia that creates muscle knots that won’t go away, which can lead to many different problems.Regular use of a foam roller can:

  • Help prevent common injuries – foam rolling every day ensures you are massaging away fascia buildup in your muscles, preventing those areas from becoming injury trigger points.
  • Help you de-stress – foam roll your worries away, digging at those knots and releasing tension.
  • Keeps you flexible – building up your flexibility is key for any fitness routine.

Foam rolling is not just a massage tool either. Use it as part of your regular workout routine.

Try adding the foam roller to these common workouts.

  • Plank with a foam roller. Place your palms shoulder width apart on the foam roller. Stabilize the foam roller while you plank and hold.
  • Wall squat with the foam roller. Place the foam roller between your midback and a wall and squat down until the roller reaches your shoulder.
  • Push up and arm lift with the foam roller. Do a push up with one palm on the ground and the other on the roller. Push up and lift the roller until its parallel to your chest. Repeat with your other arm.
  • Bridge on the roller with leg extension. Make a bridge with your heels on the foam roller. Extend a leg straight up. Repeat with other leg.
  • Push up and leg lift. With hands on roller, do a push up. Lower your chest toward the roller, keeping your elbows in. Lift your right leg, and then lower it. Repeat the push-up, and then lift the left leg.

The foam roller is a great exercise tool to help strengthen muscles, prevent injury and can help overall fitness and ability. The more regularly you use a foam roll on your tight muscles, the less painful it will be. Roll with it!

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