4 Tips to Prevent Injury When You Workout

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:


Late onset muscle soreness is to be expected from a workout - but you can also expect to feel accomplished! Photo from Orange Theory Rock Hill

1. START SLOW

Before starting a workout routine, be sure you have had your annual physical and have been cleared by your doctor. If joining a gym like Orange Theory for the first time or coming back to a workout routine after a hiatus, begin your activities slowly.
After a new workout or routine, delayed onset muscle soreness is to be expected and typically appears 24-48 hours after a workout. If you start to notice a deep ache or pain that does not get better or dissipate as time progresses, this is a sign from your body that you may be doing too much too soon.
“Our body does a great job talking to us," Heather says. "If the task or workout you are doing does not feel right, listen to your body and stop that task. Any discomfort that you would categorize as pain and not just a physical challenge, stop and move on to something else or take a day off.”


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.


At Orange Theory Rock Hill, members finish their post-workout cool down with stretches

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 variance is each workout, Orange Theory’s routines do a great job of this.






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