Your car broke down, you had to work late, you came down with a bug — these are all things that are out of your control and can force you to miss workouts. Getting hurt can also sideline you from sweat sessions, and while some injuries aren't preventable, some are. Here are five things to help you prevent certain injuries.
- Be religious about the warm-up: I know you're in a rush to squeeze in your workout, but going right into intense cardio puts you at risk for falling or pulling a muscle. Five minutes is all it takes, so be sure to carve out this time for warming up before every cardio session.
- Do three types of cardio each week: Running may be your go-to cardio of choice, but if you hit the pavement all the time, then you're using the same muscles for every workout. This puts your muscles at risk for an overuse injury. Change up the muscles you use by doing three different types of cardio each week, such as biking, hiking, jumping rope, swimming, or a class like Zumba.
Keep reading for three more ways to prevent workout injuries.
- Strengthen weak muscles: If cycling is your primary form of cardio, then there's no doubt your quads are as strong as a horse. But what about your arms? When certain muscles are strong and others are weak, it causes muscular imbalances that can mess with your posture and put strain on parts of your body, leading to injury. During your two or so strength-training sessions each week, focus on toning the parts of your body that don't get as much attention during your cardio workouts.
- Stretching is equally important: Although studies show that stretching doesn't prevent injury, it does increase your flexibility, and supple muscles are less prone to pain and injury. Even 15 minutes of gentle stretching after cardio or strength training will do the trick. Just make sure not to push yourself too hard, as this can cause injuries or make you even more sore the next day.
- Schedule rest: Set aside one to three days each week for light workouts or to skip out on exercise entirely. This much-needed rest time allows your muscles to heal completely and become stronger, which can prevent injuries during future workouts. Along the same lines, if you're feeling under the weather, low in energy, or are suffering from a little pain, then a day of rest can do wonders.