How Can You Avoid Injuring Yourself During Workouts?

There’s no question that exercise is good for your body. It can have many benefits for your health (more on that in a second). To get the full benefits you’re looking for, though, you need to be careful not to injure your muscles.

An injury doesn’t just cause you pain; it can force you to avoid physical activity for a long time, potentially undoing any gains from working out in the first place. How can you stay safe when you’re exercising?

Know the Difference Between Soreness and Injuries

First, it’s helpful to know what injuries feel like compared to regular workout soreness. There are three types of soreness related to exercise, but not all are bad.

Immediate Soreness

This is the “burn” that many athletes enjoy. Sure, it causes some tiredness, but it’s a good kind of pain that means the exercise was successful. This soreness generally goes away in an hour or two.

Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness

DOMS can take you by surprise. This soreness usually doesn’t show up until 12–24 hours after intense exercise. It’s more common with strength-training exercises, such as squats for leg day or weight lifting for your arms.

DOMS is normal, usually going away after three to five days. It means that your muscles have tiny tears from the exercise. As the body heals, it builds stronger muscles.

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Physical Pain

Soreness is one thing. Sharp pains are something completely different. They’re a bad thing. Strong pains or difficulty moving the affected muscles can mean you hurt yourself. Injuries to tendons, ligaments and cartilage can trigger this type of pain. You may need to see a doctor for help with these problems.

Give Your Muscles Time To Recover After a Workout

To keep exercising safely, you need to give your muscle rest periods, too. Take time to learn what helps sore muscles after a workout. Follow techniques related to healthy nutrition, proper rest and relaxation for muscle well-being. These common-sense suggestions are easy to put into practice, and they provide excellent results for recovery and workout safety.

Everyone is different, so you may require more or less rest for muscle recovery compared to other people. As your muscles get stronger and you become accustomed to the exercise, you can probably work out for longer periods and recover more quickly from muscle soreness.

Always listen to what your body is trying to tell you. If something hurts, stop right away. The mantra of “no pain, no gain,” isn’t talking about hurting yourself. It’s talking about regular soreness from proper exercise and muscle growth.

Don’t Push Yourself Too Quickly

In a way, exercising your body is like driving a truck that needs to tow a heavy load. If you try to accelerate quickly right away, you can end up damaging the engine, ruining the suspension or breaking the towing system. That’s why knowledgeable drivers take their time getting up to speed, getting a feel for how the truck responds to the load.

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The same thing goes for workouts. Don’t feel like you have to do 15 reps and four sets like a pro from the very beginning. Pushing yourself too far, too quickly only hurts you in the long run. It’s better to start small and ramp up over time.

You can tell the right amount of activity based on your heart rate. You want to do enough reps and sets to hit a moderate heart rate. If you hit that heart rate with just five or six reps, that’s fine. After a few days, you can probably do a few more reps before hitting your target heart rate.

The Benefits of Exercising Safely

According to the CDC, staying active physically provides many benefits. It can give you stronger bones and enhance your physical strength. It can help you lose weight and keep your heart safe. Even your brain and emotions benefit when you work out. Just do it safely.

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