Exercise provides various health benefits, including improved cardiovascular fitness, weight loss, blood pressure control, and so much more. However, working out too hard or for too long can put a lot of stress on your joints, thereby increasing the risk of joint injuries. The causes of common joint injuries include repeated impact, overuse of joints, sudden directional changes, and inadequate rest. But you can easily avoid all these, and at the same time make exercise an enjoyable experience, by following these tips.
It’s natural to be highly motivated when you’re starting out on your fitness journey - you’re determined to do more than just a standard 30-minute workout. But trying to do too much too soon may cause more harm than good, because joint injuries often occur when you don’t allow the body to adapt slowly to your workout routine. That’s why we recommend that you take the time to ease into things. Start with light activities for short durations, instead of jumping into intense routines right away.
Choose the right footwear
There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a pair of workout shoes, many of which can be quite expensive. Before you set eyes on the ones on sale at the local store, take the time to consider your workout routine. Are you participating in high-speed contact sport such as basketball or soccer? Do you work out in the gym or outdoors? Seek some advice from the store’s staff. They can analyze the size and shape of your foot, and recommend the right shoe for you.
Switch it up
Do you have a favorite routine that you stick to? While focusing on activities you enjoy makes it easier to stay consistent with your exercise routine, you can end up with joint injuries from using the same muscle groups for a number of days consecutively. Instead of focusing on one form of exercise, mix up your routines with a variety of activities. You can prevent injuries from repetitions by working different parts of your body.
Avoid too many high-impact exercises
Many people get confused between high-impact and low-impact exercises. To put it simply, when your body has to absorb shock from your feet hitting the ground hard, the activity is considered high-impact. While this kind of exercise actually helps strengthen your bones, it also comes with a greater risk of injury. The ideal solution is to incorporate both high- and low-impact workout levels into your routines. In addition to running, consider low-impact exercises such as swimming, walking, biking, and the elliptical.
Get plenty of rest
If you’re experiencing nagging aches and pains in your joints, it’s a good idea to take a break for a day or two. When it comes to protecting your joints, a good rest is just as important as performing a variety of activities with good form. When you take a break, you’re giving yourself proper recovery time. Your body will repair damaged tissues, strengthen muscles, and replenish energy. So don’t skimp on rest days and deny your muscles and body the chance to recover - you’ll break down the body instead of making it stronger!
By taking certain precautionary actions and creating an exercise routine based on your fitness levels, you can strengthen your joints and make them less susceptible to injuries.