- Start off slowly.
It can be tempting to go all out when you’re first starting, but its important to gradually increase the time and intensity for whatever activity you are doing.
- Balance between training and recovery.
Remember that even Olympic athletes have rest days! Training for a high number of consecutive days is a breeding ground for injury so take the time to recover so that your muscles and connective tissues have the opportunity to repair.
- Don’t train through pain.
Try and listen to your body and don’t ignore the signals, it’s trying to send you. If you are in a lot of pain then don’t just push through, sometimes your body is telling you to slow down.
- Warm up and stretch.
The warm up is an often overlooked activity with research in the UK showing only one in five people always warm up. Warming up your muscles is a great step to injury prevention and it can also improve your performance. Follow your warm up with stretching and then some exercises that are specific to your sport. If you’re not sure what stretches to do, visit our stretching section of our blog. Last, but certainly not least, is the cool down, as the name suggests this is about cooling your body down so it returns to its normal temperature.
- Cross train.
Consider incorporating some different activities into your weekly workout schedule. Cross training can help prevent injuries, keep boredom at bay and increase your overall fitness. The trick is to combine different types of exercise such as cardio, strength and flexibility. For example you might consider a plan that incorporates running (cardio), with free weights (strength training) and yoga (flexibility).
- Get the right gear.
Having the right equipment when you train is really important, if you’re a runner then this might be shoes that support your running style, if you’re a team sport player this might be essential equipment to protect your body.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Due to the fact we lose water when we exercise it’s very important to replace it. The amount of water needed varies between everyone, so work out what is right for you. Your goal should be to remain hydrated throughout the whole day, rather than just gulping down a bottle after exercise. Sports drinks can be useful if your training at a high intensity for longer than an hour, however if you’re just going for a short walk then stick to water.
If you do pick up an injury then make sure you see a health professional early, don’t wait until it develops into something bigger