How to Avoid Muscle Strain at the Gym
New Year, new you right? Every year Jan/Feb shows a spike in gym memberships as people take the first steps to for-filling their new year’s resolutions. Stats show that up to 80% of the gym memberships that bloomed in Jan/Feb will be cancelled 5 months into the year!! For those champions who push through the 5-month mark on to a fitter and better you, here’s a futuristic pat on the back!!
We’d like to share with you how to avoid muscle strain at the gym so that you have no excuses when it comes to making the most out of your gym membership. After all, one of your new year goals was to be more financially savvy, right?
There are a few easy steps to take to help avoid muscle strain at the gym. Did you know that for a mild strain it can take up to 6 weeks to heal? Also, if you are an office worker, sitting at a desk for eight hours a day can cause all sorts of joint and muscle issues. Rushing into a hard and fast workout at the gym can put strain on those muscles encouraging injury.
Here are some tips to help avoid muscle strain or a gym injury in 2019.
1. Warm up and stretch. Okay smarty pants, this has been drilled into you since you were told to wait 20 minutes after eating before swimming. But what many people don’t realise, is how important it is to stretch before and AFTER a workout, to help avoid injury. Also, do you know how long you should be holding each stretch?
Step one is warming up. Warming up increases your heart rate and the amount of blood and oxygen flowing to your muscles. Keep in mind stretching ‘cold muscles’ can also lead to injury. Following the warm up, ensure you hold each stretch for 30 seconds to help lengthen your muscles. Try not to bounce the stretch and it should never hurt. The most important part is to breathe through the stretches to continue to introduce oxygen to your muscles.
What’s your poison? HIIT? Yoga? F45? Pilates? If you aren’t sure of what stretches you need to be doing prior to class, ask your Chiropractor or Occupational therapist for the most accurate advice!
2. Do you have the correct technique at the gym? If you work out with a trainer, that’s great. You can learn from an expert how to help avoid muscle strain with correct form. However, for those of you that go to the gym alone, it’s important to understand that technique is everything. Not only does good technique at the gym ensure you are training the correct muscles, it helps to ensure you are protecting your back, neck, shoulders and other parts of the body when lifting weight.
One of the most common causes of injury at the gym is lifting weights that are too heavy. Obstructing your ability to maintain good form. If you are unable to use a full range of motion when lifting a weight, it’s suggested to grab a lighter weight. Remember, if your technique wavers, you place vulnerable parts of your body, in a danger zone, prone to various injuries.
3. Finally, it is important to take care of yourself outside the gym to help avoid injury. Rest days are important to allow your muscles to recover. Drinking plenty of water is essential, along with maintaining the relevant supplements recommended for your body. Drinking enough fluids is important to prevent dehydration and keep your body functioning properly. Did you know that muscle tissue is made up of about 75 percent water? Even minor dehydration can affect your gym performance and increase your risk of injuries.
Remember, Chiropractors and Occupational Therapists frequently see patients who have regrets after a strenuous workout. Regular appointments with your practitioner will not only help to ensure your posture is in order. They can advise of stretches, movements and techniques to help prevent gym injury.