As Spring approaches, we all face the daunting task of getting ourselves back into our workout routine. Orthopedic injuries often occur for the first time when suddenly changing your workout regimen or increasing your activity level. Here are some tips to make getting back into the swing of things easily and pain free.
Pace yourself. The most important thing to remember when setting new exercise goals is to increase your activity gradually. If your muscles aren’t used to strenuous activity, they will tire quickly and won’t be able to support proper form. Fatigued muscles will lead to overuse injuries like tears, sprains, strains, and other injuries.
Pacing yourself is also the most effective way to avoid discouraging workouts and keep at your program.
Incorporate flexibility training. You’ve heard it before: stretching prevents injuries. Just a few minutes of stretching can keep your muscles from tightening in reaction to their new activity levels. Tight muscles will lead to pain and inflammation.
Don’t skip rest days. When getting back into a workout routine you may feel overzealous and want to make up for lost time. But your muscles need time to heal and adjust. Overuse injuries can occur if you don’t allow your body time to recuperate between workouts. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep for the same reasons.
Finally, listen to your body. If you’re recovering from an injury or just have a few weak spots, plan your fitness program around this. Make sure to consult with your orthopedist or physical therapist about which exercises are safe to do with your condition. If you had a knee injury 6 months ago, you may feel fine now, but should still avoid squatting and opt for deadlift and other knee-friendly lower body workouts. Re-injuring yourself will only set you back further.