Considering that your workout is an effort to improve your body, it’s pretty strange to think about the fact that each time you hit the gym, you’re actually doing damage to your joints, bones and muscles – putting these under stress with each rep and each step. Of course, that “damage” is exactly what you want to accomplish. As a result of those stressors, your body becomes faster, stronger and just generally better – so adjustments are made.
But, if you’re not careful, things can get out of hand. Actual injuries can occur from which your body may not be able to fully recover and improve. For instance, some experts estimate that up to 80 percent of runners will deal with some sort of injury every year. And those are some tragic numbers. So, how can you avoid athletic injuries?
Know the risks – Each sport and training style comes with it’s own unique set of challenges and potential injuries. For instance, runners are more likely to deal with inflammation in the connective tissue of their lower extremity joints, such as hips, knees, and ankles. Weight lifters, though, may be faced with pulled or strained muscles or inflammation in their backs due to improper form and heavy compressive forces. This isn’t meant to scare you away from your workouts, though. The point is that you should know what you’re getting yourself into before you ever start. By making sure you understand the risks of your particular sport, you can design your workouts to avoid these problems.
Watch your form – If you’ve ever done any reading into fitness, talked to an athlete or even just walked past a gym, you know how central form is to any discussion on the topic. Like any other machine, your body is made to perform certain activities with a specific pattern. When you try to make it move in unnatural ways, you leave it unprepared to deal with the stress. With any activity, then, make sure you know the proper form and don’t be afraid to ask for form checks from others to keep you honest.
Warm up and Cool down – We all know that we’re supposed to warm up and cool down but… how many actually do it? A proper warm up, though, helps prime your muscles and joints for the stress of the workout – preventing any mishaps. The even-more-neglected cool down stops blood from pooling in your extremities, leaving other parts of your body undernourished, and helps your body gradually return to it’s normal routine to prevent soreness.
Proper nutrition – Everything you do on a daily basis burns calories and requires various nutrients. When these macro- and micro-nutrients are missing, though, your body is in the same situation as a car that doesn’t have all the necessary fluids. Things just can’t function the way they should. Make sure you’re getting the right amount of total calories and meeting your body’s needs when it comes to individual macro- and micro-nutrients. One way convenient way to keep your body fueled, is to take a Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) supplement, like Gnarly BCAAs. This unique group of amino acids has been shown to improve muscle recovery after intense workouts and prevent overuse injuries.