1. Drink sufficient amounts of water to stay not only hydrated, but flushed.
Suggested amount of water intake is… Take your body weight divide in half for normal daily consumption and add another half of that amount for medium to heavy exercise days. A 200 lb. man should drink 100 oz. of water in normal daily consumption and 150 oz. for days where there is medium to heavy exercise. Also note that for every glass of soda, coffee, or alcohol, 2 cups of water is necessary to counteract the dehydrating properties of those drinks.
Drinking Water you say? Yes, Drinking water helps to flush your muscles of lactic acid which can lead to cramping and tight muscles. When you exercise while dehydrated and full of lactic acid, you have a greater chance of tearing muscles and ligaments. Learn more about The Real Squeeze on Muscle Cramping
Picture this scenario – You are running on a treadmill and your calf muscle decides to seize; in the middle of that cramp, your leg extends and, as you continue your run and the muscle that is seizing is now stretched beyond the point of cramp, RIP goes the muscle and now you collapse on the ground, or twist your ankle from the pain, or any number of other possibilities. You are now injured. Pretty likely scenario.
“My Ankles Were Swelling After I Would Dance Or Walk Or Play Pickleball And I Would Come Home And Put Them Up, Thinking I Had Been On Them Too Long. Then I Remembered What Ari Said About Water. And I Read Something That Said Swollen Ankles Were The First Sign Of Dehydration…So, Now I Have Been Drinking More And Constantly As I Play/Dance, And No More Swollen Ankles…”
2. Stretch, stretch, and more stretching before, during, and after exercising.
What you really need to know though, is that stretching properly is one of the most important parts of Effective Injury Prevention. If you have flexibility and control in your Range of Motion, when unexpected events occur such as car accidents, sports injuries, trip and falls, and any other sudden traumatic possibilities, your body will be fully prepared to withstand those traumas with little to no damage. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for your overall wellbeing to have a flexible, supple body.
3. Core Strength and creating a strong foundation
So many people move and exercise without paying attention to the foundation they are building. I give the metaphor of a builder building a house and starting with the appliances and cabinetry before pouring the foundation and building the structure. We are programmed by magazines and advertisements to want to create a sculpture with our bodies. Become Greek Gods of chiseled stone. Athletes today build their bodies to look like sculptures but they shatter like glass.
Building a strong core and foundation will help your body tremendously with injury prevention. A weak foundation leads to improper form and technique which leads directly down the line to injuries. If I could illustrate this for you with a picture, I would; but for now think of it this way. You are sitting in a 4 legged chair and 2 of the legs were not properly screwed in. You turn to talk with someone and put extra strain on one of those legs and, because of the stress on placed on that leg, the entire chair buckles. This scenario happens constantly with people going to work out. They do not do the foundation building exercises first, get right into the design and sculpture of the body, and, because of this and lax technique, injury occurs. Prevent injuries by starting off building a strong foundation first so you can avoid needless injury, pain, and having to start all over after being laid up due to the injury.
4. Proper form and technique
What is the first thing you do when you set up to do an exercise? Let’s say you are doing a traditional bench press. I have been in enough gyms and watched enough people to know that most people who sit to do a bench press put on the weights (usually more than they should), sit in the chair (wherever the last person had it placed rather than setting it for their own height and weight), place hands on the bar (not making sure their hands are equidistant from either side of the ends), and push up, release, down, up, down, up, down, with no control of the sides (left usually weaker than right so the left side dips down with less control than that of the right). The result is wrist injury, chest muscle pull, shoulders give way, and the body becomes tense and tight in shoulders neck etc. causing even more pain and discomfort. Take the time to situate yourself in the proper position.
Be cognitive of the position of your body and the technique. If you cannot do an exercise with proper technique, either lower the weight of the apparatus or do a different exercise that can strengthen and stretch the weaker areas of your body first. Then, when you have built that foundation, come back to the exercise and try again. You will be sure to get the results you desire without the pain and agony of injury when taking this approach.
5. Take your time
First of all BREATHE. Take your time and be patient with yourself. It is more important long term to go slowly and build up to where you want to be rather than push yourself too hard at first. Intensity is great, but what is truly great is the long term effects of working for your body’s health. Injuries, because we try and push too hard and go too fast, are common. They cause a person to give up or at the very least they cut into the workout consistency because rather than being able to work out you are nursing your injuries. So, take your time and breathe through your workouts. Remember the end goal and that progress is measured more significantly in months not days.
6. Warm up and cool down periods
Many of us go to a gym or to a track to run or just get on a bike to ride and get straight to the business of pushing ourselves. I know I have been guilty of this too at times. I am on a time budget and have somewhere to be so I just want to get in and get out. The problem with this is that you are not allowing your body the preparation for working out properly, and then at the end you can seize up because you did not take the time to cool down in a way that eases your muscles out of the fire and burn you just put them under.
Light stretching and warming up muscles with brisk massage and medium speed walking are great ways to get muscles ready for the load of heavy exercising. Slow walking, light stretching, and keeping our bodies moving at a relaxed pace is a great way to cool down. Also, at the end of a workout, some light muscle squeezing and pushing up your limbs will help to flush some of the lactic acid out while giving the muscles a relaxing feel so they do not tighten up when you get in the car to go to your next appointment. Remember that this is about the long term health of your body. Injuries happen when we skip steps and do not take the time to prepare for the workout we are about to do.
“Ari, I Have Started Doing A Warm Up And Cool Down Exercise Even For My Line Dancing Group – It Puts Fluid In The Joints To Help Them Move Easier…I Even Am Starting My Day With The Warm Up And Whenever I Feel Stiff, I Repeat It”
7. PAY ATTENTION
Most of us, IF PAYING ATTENTION, have some sign before a rip or a tear or acute injury that what we are about to do is going to cause us pain. If we are diligent about paying attention to our bodies, we can avoid a great deal of undue anguish by listening to what our body is telling us. This is the same for working out as walking down the street and twisting an ankle because you were on your phone and not paying attention to the crack in the sidewalk or slipping and falling because you walked on a slick surface not paying attention to where you were going. Scenario after scenario of accidents can occur when we stop paying attention to our bodies and the world around us. We all do it. We CAN avoid it.
The majority of injuries we get are easily avoidable. Follow these World Class Athletes’ Secrets to Injury Prevention and you will have the BEST chance at leading a long, healthy life that is pain and injury free.
Ari Gronich is highly trained and certified in many disciplines within the fields of bodywork, emotional release, energy work, nutrition, sports hypnotherapy, health, and kinesiology and sports therapy. For the last 17 years, he has helped transform his clients’ bodies and lives through increased performance, thus enhancing physical, mental, and emotional health. To work with Ari, or for a Consultation Appointment you can email PerformanceTherapist@gmail.com or call 310-363-0FIT (0348). Visit his website, PerformanceTherapist.com