When we find ourselves injured or in pain, we know who to see for help. (hint: your Momentum Physical Therapy team is a great place to start *wink*) The best time to think about injuries is BEFORE you experience one! We’ve pulled together a few of the best ways to prevent yourself from injuries below.
Preparation and prevention come from three general areas.
1. Proper Nutrition & Hydration
Bouncing back from the holiday season and the out-of-the-norm diet that accompanies it can be tricky. It’s time to step away from the dessert trays and cheese boards and get back to a balanced, nutritional diet. The cups of coffee you normally drink may keep you going, but the crash you experience when the caffeine wears off can be hard to pull yourself through. Instead, be sure you hydrate yourself with water throughout the day, and reach for fruits and vegetables. Additionally, healthy proteins keep you fed, full, and away from junk that will keep you tired.
2. Warm-Up & Stretch
It’s important to warm up and then actively stretch your muscles before you do any workout. Allowing 5-10 minutes of warm-up activity gets your blood flowing and warms up the muscles in preparation for the workout you have planned. Your cardiovascular system, muscles, joints, and entire body function much better when given the chance to gradually adjust to a new level of activity. The benefits of gradually ramping up apply to individual workouts, but also apply to long term fitness as well. This routine helps maximize the physiologic benefits from working out and also helps prevent injuries that might be caused by ramping up your activity level too quickly.
3. Proper Recovery For Buildup
If you’re feeling sore three days after a workout, chances are you pushed yourself too hard. Know your body, keep learning from the signals it gives you after each new workout, and pay attention when your body is pushing back or sending you signals that you are doing too much. This doesn’t mean give up when things get hard. Push yourself just enough to see gains, but never so much that you leave yourself in pain and unable to workout for days to follow. Another commonly overlooked key ingredient here is post-workout stretching or cooldown activity. Much like warming up, a proper cool down and recovery are key to making the most of each workout.
If you are currently experiencing pain and would like a professional opinion/assessment, contact us today to schedule an appointment for you to come in and have someone take a look. Our goal is to get you healthy for life!