There is no question that injuries can be time-consuming, costly, and given enough time unchecked have the potential to develop into more serious health issues. Depending on the level of injury you might even find that it has a lasting effect like chronic pain. The good news is that some of the most common injuries, whether in the workplace, through athletics, or in the home could be avoided by taking some very simple steps.
Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve your body’s ability to deal with the everyday stress and strain of physical activity. Just like anything else, your body can benefit greatly from regular training. You don’t have to be in the gym going at it like you are going to be on the next cover of Men’s or Women’s Health either.
The beauty of regular exercise like running, yoga, or weight training is that it will help you to develop healthy muscle mass and strengthen tendons and ligaments, which will reduce your risk of injury as a result of lifting, twisting, and turning. Skeletal muscles even have the ability to help store and regulate excess sugar in the bloodstream which can help decrease your risk of developing diabetes type 2 or cardiovascular disease.
The purpose of warming up before exercise is to help get your body prepared by increasing blood flow to muscles, loosening joints, and increasing the heart rate gradually. It will also help you prepare mentally for your workout, sports game, or any other physical activity. The important part is that your body will have the chance to prepare in order to avoid injury during your workout. Your warm-up routine doesn’t have to be crazy either.
Effective types of warm-up exercises could be as simple as a slow jog, row, or low resistance bike. During your warm-up you should be at a pace that allows you to have a conversation without struggling for breath. Whatever you choose to do, just remember, the point is to get your body ready for the activity that you are about to engage in and ensure that you aren’t straining unnecessarily.
Stretch It Out
When you finish with your workout, sports game, or any other strenuous physical activity it is always a good idea to include a light stretch in order to flush out compounds like lactic acid, relieve post-workout muscle soreness, speed up the healing process, and most importantly increase your range of motion.
Stretching is not necessarily limited to post workout routines either. Regularly stretching can also help you combat everyday aches and pains by getting blood flowing into an affected area. For instance, if you are experiencing discomfort in your back, using something like a foam roller for back pain could help you counteract muscle stiffness that could lead to poor posture, excess stress on your spine, and potential injury.
Focus On Breathing
It might sound a little obvious, but you would be surprised what kind of effects your breathing could have on your body. For instance, you might not be aware that holding your breath as you exert muscle power could increase your risk of a herniated disk as a result of the intrathecal pressure your central nervous system experiences.
Being conscious of your breathing and implementing breathing evenly will help you to oxygenate your muscles, and expel carbon dioxide. Doing this will help you avoid muscle fatigue, which is a common cause of sports-related injuries. You may need to slow down some of your workout routines until you get into a good rhythm with your breathing, but this will ultimately ensure that your muscles are getting proper oxygenation so that you can avoid injuring yourself. A good technique to ensure that you are getting the oxygen that your muscles need is to breathe in from your belly, avoiding rise or fall of your chest in order to use your lung capacity to it’s fullest.
One of the simplest things you can do to avoid any type of injury is to actively manage stress. Stress can do some incredible things to your body if you aren’t paying attention to managing it. Some examples of this are constant muscle tension, increased hormones which elevate blood pressure, or fatigue from physical reactions triggered by your nervous system. These effects of stress leave you more vulnerable to potential injury.
It can be hard to completely get rid of your day to day stress, but if you implement some of the habits mentioned above as well as a few others you could greatly reduce the negative effects of stress on your body. Some additional techniques for managing your stress include eating a balanced diet, getting a good night of sleep, or just slowing down a little bit so that you aren’t always rushing to get things done. The whole point is to take your time so that you don’t make a silly mistake that could lead to injury whether small or large.
Before You Go
You can implement any or all of the healthy habits listed in this article to effectively help reduce your risk of injury in your day to day life. The focus is to ensure that your body has the best chance it can of dealing with everyday stress and the tools to get you through.