Actively Avoid Injury
Most competitive athletes and fitness enthusiasts actively work to prevent injuries. Suffering from a minor injury can be inconvenient, stressful, and even expensive. Some people believe injury is par for the course. But it doesn't have to be -- in fact, it shouldn't be. The good news is that there are things everyone can do to prevent injuries -- both major and minor. While still being active and achieving your goals, you can use several techniques to increase performance and avoid injury.
We've compiled a list of tools and techniques for pre-workout prevention and post-workout recovery, allowing you to keep hitting your milestones so you don’t get benched.
It is important to drink the right amount of water to stay hydrated. Water is key to your pre-workout routine and ensuring a good start to your post-workout recovery. If you are not hydrated, you simply cannot perform. Water regulates your temperature, as well as helping your mobility and keeping your joints limber. While you should be drinking water all through and after your workout, it is recommended to drink 7-20 oz of water 20-30 minutes before working out.
If drinking water is a challenge for you, try incorporating an electrolyte powder into your routine. Not only will it taste good, but electrolytes also help to balance the fluids in the body. This means that you will stay hydrated longer and have a faster recovery time.
What should you wear during your workout? Think of fabrics that are going to keep up with your movement and intensity. Look for fabrics that are moisture-wicking and will increase circulation.
Gradient Compression Wear
Compression wear is common across many athletic disciplines. It can reduce muscle fatigue and injury, making exercise more comfortable and enjoyable. If you want to get the most out of your workout quite literally starting from the ground up will help. When you have the right footwear and socks your body will thank you for it.
Compression wear can also be helpful for healing injuries. Gradient compression is especially beneficial for stimulating blood flow. Increasing circulation will help to speed recovery from a strenuous workout, making compression wear a smart addition to any workout routine.
Most athletes are familiar with the idea of stretching. However, most athletes do not take this into consideration when implementing it into a pre-or post-workout routine. Much like hydrating, stretching is best when done both before and after a workout. If you don't warm up your muscles before beginning your reps, you are on your way to injury.
Stretching with tools, like straps, help to take your prevention to the next level. They are designed to help get a deeper stretch, enabling recovery from workouts and keeping muscles limber enough to prevent injury in the future. For those who have a muscle group that is frequently tight, it may help to find a stretching routine using straps.
The foam roller is a tool that has been around for decades. This tool has stood the test of time because it works, and is recommended by physical therapists, trainers, and chiropractors alike for its ease and effectiveness. Foam rollers work by releasing the tension in the muscles by way of myofascial release. When tension builds up inside the muscle, it limits the body’s mobility and blood flow. Regular foam rolling can increase your mobility and performance over time.
Foam rollers come in a variety of styles with varying surfaces. Some have smooth surfaces, while others have bumps, grooves, or ridges. All are designed with a specific goal, to aid in varying types of recovery. Foam rollers with bumps act like hands to "knead" the skin and muscle tissue, which can boost circulation. Some people find the bumps uncomfortable and prefer the smooth foam rollers. Either choice is beneficial for optimizing muscle performance and speeding recovery.
If you are a competitive athlete or someone who does high-intensity workouts, such as CrossFit, a Therapy gun may be a good option for you. A therapy gun helps to work deep into the tissues to prevent cramping or seizing of muscle groups at a deep level. Much like your pre-workout stretching routine, a therapy gun helps to release tension held in the muscles.
Ice and Heat
Ice and heat are some of the best tools for treating injuries. Traditional icepacks and heating pads are great. When used correctly they help reduce healing time and relieve pain. Always consult with your doctor, physical therapist, trainer, or chiropractor before using ice and heat as their uses can vary depending on your injury.
Hitting goals in the gym can't happen if you don't allow your body to recover. Making rest days a key part of your workout routine will help to give muscles a break and allow injuries to heal. Allowing your muscles to rest will help them to recover from damage incurred by the previous workout, making them stronger. To get the most out of your rest days incorporate a favorite hobby or low-impact workout. Doing a low-impact activity, like walking, can help you keep your blood moving while still working toward your goals.
Wearing compression gear after a workout helps to recover from injuries and prevent new ones. Alongside hydrating, stretching, and resting, you can use gradient compression in your workout routine to help improve results and recovery. Choosing socks that allow your blood to flow will aid in your post-workout recovery, giving you the ability to surpass your goals and progress to the next level.
Compression socks, like TheraSport and Core-Sport by Therafirm Feature gradient compression, which is greatest at the ankle and decreases as it moves up the calf toward the knee. This gradual decrease of compression stimulates blood flow.
The Ball is in Your Court
While sudden injuries can happen to anyone, making use of one or more of the above tools can significantly reduce your chances of injury. Best of all, these tools are easy to integrate into any athletic routine. Whether you are training for your next heat, or you are getting ready to set foot into the gym for the first time, these tools will help you succeed.
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