> By taking certain essential steps, we can get the most out of our training regimen and stay bruise-free as well
EVERYONE gets injured. From a worldclass athlete to a stay-at-home parent, no one is immune to injuries. Even sitting at a desk from nine-to-five daily can cause serious damage to the body. One of the biggest misconceptions in the fitness industry is a saying that goes back a few decades. Anyone who has played sport or stepped into a gym would be familiar with the phrase “no pain, no gain”.
This phrase relates to all the hard work and sacrifice of an athlete, and is often-times misunderstood as working through pain.
It is time to rethink the strategy if your approach to gym-sustained injury is to tough it out, harden up, or some other hashtag-worthy catchphrase.
The key is to prepare our bodies efficiently to avoid getting injured.
Dynamic warm-ups Some 10 years ago, dynamic warm-ups became a staple in the world of sport after researchers found that stretching a cold muscle in any way before a workout or competition may decrease strength, power, and performance.
Dynamic stretching – a series of movements designed to raise the body’s core temperature, fire up the nervous system and increase flexibility – if done correctly, can help avoid injuries and improve performance.
Start with a mild aerobic routine to get the blood flowing, before going into movements such as high knee walks, sun salutations and hip stretches.
Static stretching Dynamic warm-ups may be all the craze at the moment but that does not mean we should neglect static stretching.
A dynamic warm-up routine gets the blood flowing and body’s core temperature elevated before working out but static stretching is a great way to cool down after an exercise.
Static stretching helps the body relax and return to a steady state of rest. Using the reach-and-hold technique, static stretching can decrease muscle tension and increase relaxation.
If you are new to stretching, spend just 20 seconds on a stretch and slowly work your way up to 45 seconds. Remember, not every muscle group has to be stretched. Just focus on ones that are feeling tight.
Myofascial release Also known as foam rolling, self-myofascial release is another term for self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points.
Using a foam roller, self-myofascial therapy focuses on releasing muscular shortness and assist in breaking up muscle knots, resuming normal blood flow and function.
Usually done before working out or every morning, foam rolling helps improve flexibility and reduce muscle soreness.
Foam rolling will increase blood flow throughout the body, allow better movement and increase range of motion – all the necessary components to avoid injuries. The body can then move better, recover faster, perform efficiently and have less pain.
Start with your calves as it is often neglected and work your way up to your hamstrings, quads, hips, back and shoulders.
Recovery time and sleep Often overlooked, sleep and allowing the body to recover from a workout are probably the most important steps to take to avoid injuries.
Sleep is a major aid when looking to recuperate as it helps growth hormone production and increases blood flow.
Sleep helps the body increase bone strength and muscle mass, and build a strong immune system after it has been broken down from a workout session.
For those who have trouble taking a day or two off to help the body recover, they should look at active recovery methods such as walking or yoga to injury proof their bodies.
Every workout is like a mild injury that you have to recover from as there are micro muscle tears. To avoid these mild injuries from becoming something serious, the body needs time to rebuild itself.
So by staying active and injury free, we can get the most out of our training regimen. Take essential steps to prepare the body and you will not regret it.
Nevash Nair is currently on his own fitness journey in Thailand. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.