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Tips for preventing injuries at the gym

Far too often people wait until they are experiencing pain or already injured to seek out ways to prevent injury.  Here are a few ideas on how to stay healthy while you’re training.

One of the most neglected things pre-workout is nutrition.  At least 30 minutes prior to your workout it is helpful to consume a small meal containing primarily carbohydrates. This will give your body the fuel it needs to perform at it’s best and keep you energized.  An example would be whole wheat toast or half bagel with peanut butter and half of a banana.

Another extremely important element to include is a dynamic warm up.  When your muscles are cold, static stretching (or holding a stretch for an extended period of time) may not be what you need.  Instead try a dynamic warm up.  Start with a brisk walk or easy jog, marching in place, high knees or leg swings.  Even if you’re just running don’t forget about your upper body!  We are all guilty of being a little too eager to get started on our workout and skipping the warm up, but the results can be costly.  Take the extra 5-10 minutes to warm up, your body will thank you!

After your workout has been completed take 5-10 minutes to cool down.  A few of these minutes should be focused on bringing your heart rate back down gradually.  Simply walking for a few minutes can achieve this. Now is the time for some static stretching, hold each of your stretches for approximately 30 seconds.  It is important to keep your muscles flexible in order to prevent injury.

Last but not least, make sure you consume some protein 30 minutes to an hour post-workout.  Protein is your body’s building blocks, in order for your muscles to recover, rebuild and grow stronger this protein needs to be replenished.  A quick and easy source is a shake consisting of primarily whey protein.  Whey protein is absorbed more quickly by the body which will allow it to get to your muscles faster!

Chantel Doyon, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist