By Physical Therapist Heather Kidder, DPT
Whether you’re starting a workout routine for the first time or you’re a seasoned athlete, it’s important to take all the proper steps to prevent injury.
OrthoCarolina and our partners at Orange Theory in Rock Hill are dedicated to helping you achieve your fitness goals safely and with a good dose of fun!
Here are our top four ways to work out and stay injury-free:
1. START SLOW
2. WARM-UP BEFORE YOUR WORKOUT
A warm-up helps to prepare the body for your workout, and is particularly important in preventing injury. The role of the warm-up is to get the muscles ready for heavier and more vigorous activity and should consist of 5-10 minutes of low-level activity.
Riding a stationary bike or taking a brisk walk are great ways to get a warm-up. This is not the time for high intensity, but your body should begin to feel like it needs to work a little more as your heart and respiratory rates elevate. A good gauge is that you should be able to carry on a conversation with someone during a warm-up.
3. STRETCH POST-WORKOUT
After your workout, incorporate a five to ten-minute cool down similar to the warm-up you started with to bring your heart and respiratory rate back to normal.
Depending on the type of work out you are performing, you want to stretch the muscles being worked during that day’s training session. The main upper body stretches to perform are pectoralis major and minor (chest muscles), latissimus dorsi (back muscles), biceps and triceps. After a lower-body workout, focus on hamstrings, quadriceps, and gastroc-soleus (calf).
4. CROSS TRAIN
Heather says many people go to the gym and do the same routine each time, but incorporating variety is key to staying healthy.
“Varying your workout routine is very important to prevent overuse injuries as this will change the forces applied to the body, and allow time for your body to recover," Heather says. "Also be sure to incorporate a rest day in your routine to truly allow your body to recuperate. That will help you get the most bang for your buck.”
With the variance in each workout, Orange Theory’s routines do a great job of this.