Whenever you undertake any kind of physical activity, there’s always the possibility that you might hurt yourself. Whether it’s specifically working out, or simply an activity that has you moving around and breathing heavy, throwing your body around and straining yourself comes with inherent risks. On the other hand, the most dangerous thing you could do for your longterm health is not exercise at all. So if you can’t, or at least shouldn’t, avoid exercising, then it’s extremely important to be aware of the dangers involved. Learn methods to protect yourself, so that you can maintain your physical health while minimizing the likelihood of hurting yourself.
Always remember to stretch before you work out, every time you work out. If your muscles are bunched up and tight when you work out, you have a much higher chance of injury. Making sure that your muscles have had a chance to stretch out, loosen up, and relax before you start your exercise will not only protect you from such injury, it will also lessen the natural soreness you get from working you.
Warm Up and Cool Off
After you stretch, don’t just jump head first into a strenuous work out. You won’t be immediately primed to go sprinting or lifting massive weights the moment you start. It’s important to start off slow, with a light jog or lifting some smaller weights. This will allow your joints to loosen, your heart rate to raise at a manageable pace, and your blood to gradually pump more thoroughly. Once you’re done with your workout, you should do the same. Don’t go directly from heavy activity to a complete stop; it’s pretty much never a good idea to abruptly change your body’s internal state. Cool off after a workout session the same way that you’d work up, allowing your body to naturally return to a more resting state.
Drink Lots of Water
Usually, you only really need to drink water when you’re thirsty. Most claims of a minimum amount daily aren’t really based in real science, and the purpose of thirst in the human body is to notify you when you need more water. However, drinking lots of water is vital when you’re working out, because, with all the liquid you lose from exertion and sweat, it’s very easy to reach dangerously low water levels. Drink before you work out, have a water bottle during, and drink some after you finish up.
Pay Attention to the Temperature
If you prefer exercising outside, always make sure to check the weather predictions for the day Dress appropriately for the weather of the day, wearing layers if it’s cold and dressing light and airy if it’s hot. Both extreme cold and high heat can overwhelm you faster than you’d think, as both hypothermia and heat stroke can bring you down without you even realizing it until it’s too late. If it’s particularly bad out, in either direction, consider working out inside, even if you might not prefer it.
You’d be surprised how many people don’t really pay attention while they’re jogging. You get into a certain zone, kind of like meditation, and it becomes easy to tune the world out, especially if you choose to listen to music while you work out. Unfortunately, when you zone out, it’s all to easy to run into a stationary pole, or cross a street and get hit by a car. Always make sure that you’re aware of your surroundings.
Listen To Your Body
Working out doesn’t necessarily feel good, unless you’re one of the lucky few who develops an endorphin response to it. For many of us, working out is exhausting, leaves you sore, and is just generally unpleasant. But it’s important to know the difference between discomfort and pain. If you feel actual pain, then stop immediately, and address the problem. Trying to work through the pain will only make the issue worse, every time.
Check Your Equipment
Especially if you’re at a public gym, you can’t be guaranteed of the safety of the equipment your using. Before you hop on any machine, make sure to examine it closely. Pay attention to fraying cables, bent frames, and anything that doesn’t look like it’s moving properly. Using a faulty equipment is one of the most brutal ways you could injury yourself working out.
Focus on Your Form
It’s more important to do an exercise right than it is to do a lot. Not only is there less benefit to benching more weight the wrong way, doing workouts without using proper form is a very easy way to hurt yourself. That form exists for a reason. Learn exactly how an exercise is performed, and focus on getting it perfect, instead of just ramping up the intensity. You’ll get more benefit from doing an exercise right with low weights than you will cutting corners to attain higher weights.
Don’t Work Out Every Day
For most of us, this isn’t exactly a hard sell. If you find working out a chore, then you’ll likely relish your day or days off. But if you’re the type of person who just loves going to the gym, you might find yourself getting addicted to it. It’s totally natural; the endorphins released while you work out will give you what’s known as a natural high. But don’t let yourself get carried away. If you find yourself wanting to go to the gym every day, make sure that at least once a week, you take a rest day.
Injury Isn’t the Only Danger
Always remember to stay safe when you work out. If you’re one who likes to run outside, try to do it during the day, in well lit areas, or in populated areas. It’s a shame it needs to be said, but even for men, running alone at night isn’t safe. More men are victims of violent crime than women, so don’t feel like you don’t need to be concerned. Be aware of your surroundings and always have a plan.