By: Katie Lisbon CCCA, CPLC
Working in the profession in Chiropractic medicine we often see patients that have injured themselves working out or playing sports. Patients that are athletes or engage in physical activities on a regular basis are no stranger to pulled muscles, strains, sprains, ligament tears, or misaligned discs. Virtually every type of fitness injury can be successfully assessed and treated with chiropractic care, but prevention is preferred. If you are among the many individuals who workout as a hobby or maybe you are just starting out, consider the following for injury prevention.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WARM UP
The most important part to starting a fitness regimen is warming up. So many individuals will neglect this step and dive straight into their workout, setting the stage for an injury even before the real workout begins. By not properly warming up your muscles you’re putting an added strain on a muscle that is still cold and tight, increasing the risk of pulling a hamstring, straining your lower back, or tearing a ligament. Light stretching or gentle calisthenics before you exercise will get the blood flowing, lengthen your muscles, and reduce the likelihood of getting hurt.
PROPER TECHNIQUE CAN REDUCE INJURY
Another important step to engaging in physical exercise is using the proper technique. If you are trying a new exercise as part of a new routine, you may not have the coordination or muscle memory to perform the exercise correctly. Even the most skilled individuals can have poor form while performing specific exercise, especially when fatigue sets in. Challenging your skills can be fun and encouraging, but it is important to stay within your own skill level and don’t overdo it, you don’t want to put yourself out of commission for an extended period of time. Remember to take your time, check your form often or even consider having a partner or personal trainer monitor your technique to prevent an injury.
STRETCHING HELPS MUSCLES RECOVER FASTER
Maintaining good flexibility in all your muscle groups will help your athletic ability and it will prevent injury. Dedicate time every day or at the very least weekly to a stretching routine. If your workout routine incorporates “rest day,” don’t do nothing, take these days off as an opportunity to recover and stretch. Stretching will increase blood flood and nutrients to your muscles keeping them from chronic soreness, fatigue and injury.
REMEMBER TO COOL DOWN
Cooling down properly after exercise is another important fitness tip. After a workout or sport activity, make sure you take 10 to 15 minutes, to bring down your heart rate and and stretch out your muscles before you finish. Just like warm ups, cooling down will help you avoid strains, sprains, and muscle pulls.
Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day and during your physical activities to keep your muscles and discs well hydrated. This will also go a long way toward preventing injury. If you do happen to hurt yourself, despite your best prevention efforts, give our office a call to begin treatment before the injury has a chance to become a chronic issue. The sooner you get treatment and begin the healing process, the sooner you can get back to the things you love doing.