People tend to think of exercise as an inherently positive activity, one that’ll give your health and fitness levels a boost, give more energy, and all-around have you feeling at your best. However, while it can do those things, there is another side to exercise: it can be dangerous. Anything that involves putting your body under strain can cause an injury and other long-term problems — and putting your body under strain is more or less the name of the game when it comes to exercise. So it’s important that you’re taking steps to ensure you are exercising safely.
It’s easy to get excited over the prospect of finally getting into shape, but it’s important that you curb your enthusiasm. If you haven’t exercised for a while, then you’ll need to start slow. You might have grand ambitions to one day run a marathon, but let’s keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day. You have to slowly build up your body from scratch again. As well as ensuring you’re kept safe when you’re exercising, avoiding anything overly strenuous in the early days will make it more likely that you stick with your fitness goals — nothing makes people give up more quickly than being in intense pain from one intense bout of exercise.
There’s an aspect of exercising that people often overlook: warming up and cooling down. They want to try and make the most of their time exercising, and thus go straight into the strenuous stuff. This, however, is a mistake — it’s really important to get your body prepared for anything that’ll push it to its limit. You’ll be much more likely to sustain an injury if you’re not sufficiently stretching beforehand. The cool down is less important than the warm-up but still important — it’ll help to keep the tightness that can often follow exercise at bay.
Know the Correct Techniques
One of the reasons why people suffer injuries is because they don’t know the correct techniques for what they’re trying to do. Some things — let’s say, a rowing machine — can seem intuitive to use, but there is a right and a wrong way to use them. If you’re not doing the activity correctly, then you won’t be getting the best results from your efforts, and that’s the best case scenario. In the worst case scenario, you could do long-term damage to your body. Before going too deep into any one activity, make sure you know how to do it properly.
Avoid Heavy Lifting
One of the good things about, say, running, is that you’re unlikely to push yourself to the absolute limit. If you haven’t run for a while, then there’ll be an upper limit to how far you can jog. It’s longevity that defines running, and sometimes you just can’t do it. This, however, is not the case with lifting weights. It’s the weight that counts, not the time. As such, many people try to lift too much, too soon. There can be serious repercussions from lifting too much, however, such as suffering from a hernia. If you discover that you do have a hernia, make sure it’s repaired by a company like SD Hernia before you continue exercising. A lot of back related issues also occur due to incorrect lifting techniques. Whenever it comes to lifting heavy items (in the gym or not), ensure it’s an appropriate weight and you know what you’re doing.
You could do everything correctly yet still end up with an injury, if the equipment that you’re using isn’t as high-quality as it should be. If you’re buying items for use in the home, get them from a reputable brand/supplier. There will always be cheaper options out there, but there’ll be a reason why they’re so inexpensive — and you might pay in other ways besides cash, such as by getting an injury. Also keep in mind that not all gyms are created equally: there are gyms that invest in their equipment, and ones who cut corners to keep their rates as low as possible. Before becoming a member, take a look at the equipment. If it looks old and worn, then it’s probably not the right place for working out.
Eating and Drinking Well
The aim might be to lose weight, but it’s still very important that you’re eating well before and after your workouts. It’ll help you to work out better, for starters, since you’ll have more energy, but more importantly, it’ll pretty you from getting dizzy. It’s especially important to stay hydrated when running, too, especially if you’re running in the summer heat.
The Right Gear
You can’t exercise in any old clothes, especially when you’re running. Before starting your jogging adventure, make sure you have correct footwear; if you don’t, you might find that you have recurring foot injuries and back problems.
Listen to Your Body
Ultimately, the name of the game when it comes to exercising is to listen to your body. It will rarely steer you the wrong way. If you’re feeling fresh, energized, and ready to workout, then do it. If you’re beginning to feel the strain, or your body is otherwise suggested that you sit down and take a break, then follow that path. You’ll make more progress, and do it longer, if you know when to sit down and when to work at it. Remember, you should be giving your body a day rest in between strenuous activity, especially if you’re lifting weights (you’ll actually achieve better results compared to working out every day).
While it’s not exactly common, some people also end up suffering from exercise addiction. This is when a person compulsive works out, usually to achieve unattainable/abnormal goals.
There are plenty of advantages to working up a sweat, but don’t forget that there are potential downsides as well. You will regret ever having begun your workouts if you end up with a long term injury that keeps you on the couch.