Someone once said that the only way to avoid injuries is to do absolutely nothing. An injury can happen to anyone — regardless of fitness level — whether they are working out or simply taking a stroll. However, while some injuries may be unavoidable, there are many simple exercise mistakes that can put one at an unnecessary risk for injuries; taking certain precautions can lessen exercise workout injuries.
Build up gradually: Doing too much too soon is a sure way to invite injuries. Forget that "no pain, no gain" myth. For cardio movement, begin with 10- to 15-minute workouts three times a week at a comfortable pace, adding intensity when you have enough endurance to do 30 minutes at one time.
If you are strength training, begin with a light weight, performing one set of eight to 12 repetitions, two or three times a week for several weeks, then begin adding weight.
Watch out for these
• Muscle strain (pulled muscle) is an injury to a muscle where the muscle fibers tear and is generally caused from overstretching, overuse and poor flexibility.
• You negatively impact back, shoulders and knees, in addition to increasing blood pressure, if you use too heavy a weight or swing the weight too fast.
• Tendinitis can develop almost anywhere in the body where a tendon connects bone to a muscle and is usually caused by the overuse syndrome; tendons have a tendency to lose elasticity as we age.
• To help reduce ankle injuries, wobble boards are very effective. They can help you strengthen your ankles while helping develop better balance. A beginner might try standing with one leg on the floor and arms extended to the sides.
• Bouncing with stretching can lead to strained tendons or muscles as a result of forcing muscles to go beyond their normal range of motion.
Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Sally Anderson is happy to hear from readers but can't respond to individual inquiries. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.