5 Ways to Avoid Injury While Working Out

5 Ways to Avoid Injury While Working Out

As a certified athletic trainer, I work with injured athletes all day. The most common question after an injury is: Why did I get injured? While sometimes it may just be back luck, other times there are much more telling signs than “just a bad day”. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned pro let’s go over ways to avoid injury while working out. Look out for future posts on how to actually prevent specific injuries!

1. Start low and slow

Whether you’re just starting a fitness routine or are a regular in the gym it’s always best to start any new workout with a light weight and proper form. If you can, try to perform your exercises in front of a mirror. 1. It’s motivating and 2. It can keep you accountable on your form. If you’re back squatting and you start to see your knees buckling in or back arch–drop the weight immediately. I promise, it’s for your own good. Crank out a few sets of air squats or goblet squats. Ensure the movement is starting with your hips. Hinge back. Squat down. Keep your chest up. Knees out. Push back up with your heels. And repeat. Once you get comfortable and demonstrate good form, you can start to play with weight and speed.

2. Listen to your body

In a perfect world I would work out every day. My mind would love it. My body, however, is definitely not made for that. Not only do I need scheduled rest days, but there are times where I skip out on a planned workout because I’m still recovering from the last session. It’s okay to skip a day if your body needs it. You’ll only come back ready to go hard on the next one.

Let’s say, however, you said “eff it” and decided to workout anyway. What’s that–a twinge in your a hamstring? Zing in your back? Crunch in your shoulder? Stop. Put down the weight. Grab your keys. Get in the car. And go home

I’ll let you in on a secret: testing out a injury never ends with “and then I was fine”. Your body gave you a sign–listen to it!

So many injuries, especially overuse injuries, can be managed or completely avoided if you keep your workload within your current threshold. Be smart. If you’ve reached the point of no return please see the appropriate healthcare professional. In the end, stay in tune with your body so you can perform your best each day.

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3. Mix up the routine and add in accessory muscle exercises

To avoid an overuse injury mix in some accessory muscle exercises. Each joint has muscles that are considered primary movers and secondary movers. It’s important to balance the two to avoid injury because an overactive primary mover can result in an underactive secondary mover and vice versa. This will put stress on both groups and ultimately the shoulder joint will pay for it–think tendonitis, arthritis, and other structural injuries.

Let’s use For the shoulder try added in Y’s T’s and I’s at a relatively easy weight (think 2.5lbs-7.5lbs) for about 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps. Why the light weight? Your rotator cuff muscles decrease in activation the higher the weight you use. This has been proven in scientific literature with EMG studies. Stick to only heavy weights for the shoulders and you’re overuse your upper traps and biceps in no time. And you know what that leads to? Injury. No one looks cool doing these however they can save you from rotator cuff tendonitis, biceps tendonitis, labral tears, and overall help increase your shoulder stability.

4. Keep mental stress in check

As mentioned above, it’s imperative to listen to your body before jumping into a tough workout. It’s important too to mention mental stress. Mental stress directly impacts your muscle’s ability to recovery. Mental and physical stress both release cortisol. If you’re placing a high physical load on top of high mental stress your body takes twice as long to recover properly. Of course, working out can help keep stress at bay, but when you’re really going through it focus on light workouts to help clear your mind without spiking your cortisol levels.

There are times where I’m mentally burned out from work, struggling with relationships, or panicking over how long it’s going to take me to pay off my student loans.  We all have those personal triggers in our life. When it feels like you’re drowning, opt for a meditation session, yoga flow, or a nice nature hike. Your body, and mind, will thank you.

5. Ask for help

Take the necessary precautions when you’re lifting and ask for a spotter. Don’t have a gym buddy? That’s okay! This is a great way to meet one. If you see yourself doing the same exercise as someone else, or if your gym has a personal trainer staff don’t be shy to ask for help. Personally, I need help every time I try to re-rack a pre-weighted barbell. I can always get it off by myself but there’s no chance I can lift 80lbs above my waist. Not today at least. You won’t see me trying to break my back to do it either. Grab someone close and guarantee you more often than not they will help–just be sure to return to favor!

 

10 Easy Tips to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

10 Easy Tips to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

*Disclosure some of the links below are affiliate links

1. Help you, help yourself

Back in college, this might have meant putting a glass of water by your bed after a night of drinking. Today, I put that glass by my bed so I can drink it first thing in the morning when I’m so tired I can’t be bothered. Living a healthy lifestyle requires you to do the little things to help yourself get through your day. If you workout in the morning, this could mean setting out your workout clothes or even sleeping in them to encourage you to get out the door quicker. Alternatively, if you workout later in the day you could prep your gym bag with all of your necessities so you won’t have to stop at home before hitting the gym. Because I promise, you won’t go.

2. Eat intuitively

I cannot stress nutrition enough. No matter your fitness goals, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy caloric intake. It’s taxing on the metabolic system to be on the extremes of caloric deficit or surplus. The easiest, and possibly least-stressful way to maintain weight is to eat when you’re hungry. Does that mean fill up on junk? No. But it’s a great way to cut out mindless eating and to start mindful eating, which will keep you full–not stuffed or starving.

3. Cook all your meals at home

It’s been proven that cooking your own meals can help encourage healthier eating habits. Plus, you know exactly what you’re eating! No food truck street meat that’ll have you running for the bathroom will ever come out of your kitchen. In a perfect world, you’d go out in your garden, cut fresh produce, and whip up a mind-blowing breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That’s just not reality for a lot of people. To help keep you on track use pre-packaged or supplement products. I swear by Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein. There is absolutely no stevia taste that plant-based proteins are so famous for. If I’m really in a pinch I’ll grab one of their protein bars  for a quick snack on the road. Whenever I’m craving a smoothie I stay at home and whip up my own because I know it’s healthier!

Here’s my recipe for my go-to chocolate heaven vegan smoothie:

When blended top with chia seeds and voilà! You can thank me later.

4. Drink water

The average adult human is made up of 50-65% water. You need it! Your digestive system will thank you. Your nervous system will thank you. And your skin (the largest organ in your body) will thank you. Do yourself a favor and carry a water-bottle with you at all times and fill it up a few times a day. I’m currently loving Soma glass water bottles, because not only are they cute enough to be on your desk at the office, they make a donation to charity:water with every purchase.

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5. Take the stairs

If you work in an office this is an incredibily easy way to help live a healthy lifestyle. If you need to go up or down levels to meet with another department it’s a no-brainer to ditch the elevator and go down a flight or two. If you’re stuck in your office too long and need a quick 5 minute break go up and down a few flights and clear your mind.

6. Consider working out a medicine

Living a healthy lifestyle is all about your mentality. If you’re having trouble staying committed to a consistent workout regime think of it as your medicine. If you want to feel better you need to take your medicine. If you want to feel better consistently you ned to workout consistently.

7. Prioritize sleep

If you’re like me you can never get enough sleep. It’s easy to get sucked into all of the fitness tracking apps and over-analyze how long or how well your sleeping. Instead of focusing on those numbers, get back to the basics and practice good sleep hygiene. Turn off the TV. Put down the phone. Wind down from the chaos off the day. Give yourself a solid 8 hours so you’re ready to go to attack the next day. The benefits of getting a full night’s sleep include a more consistent metabolism, removing toxins, clearer thinking, and not to mention replenishing recharging from the physical and mental stress of the day.

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8. Practice self-care

Self-care is not optional it is essential. No matter how crazy your week gets always take time out for yourself. Just focus on checking out of all your priorities and stressors for 15 minutes each day to focus on yourself. Do what makes you happy. Throw on a face mask, light a candle, and turn the lights off. Go through a light yoga flow. Maybe spend some time journaling or meditating. Browse some motivational quotes on Pinterest. Whatever it is, sit back, relax, and give yourself some well deserved “time-off”.

9. Get active

To live a healthy lifestyle is to live an active lifestyle. Instead of driving to the coffee shop hop on a bike and take the scenic route. Spend time wandering the farmers market. Go on a hike instead of staying home watching reruns of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Your options are endless. Just get up and move!

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Land’s End hike in San Francisco

10. Surround yourself with like-minded people

Link up with a gym buddy or ask a friend to go for a walk. It’s easier to cancel on yourself than a friend. Or, instead of going-out to eat on date night spend time together cooking a meal with your significant other. If it’s hard to find like-minded people in your day to day life don’t be afraid to reach out and meet someone new! At She Hella Healthy always feel welcome to comment below anytime you need some motivation!