Injury will make you miserable. It will reduce the quality of your life and limit your normal activity. So, why not prevent injury from happening at all?
Even if you are not able to completely remove it, reducing the probability of it happening is a worthwhile pursuit.
So, let’s examine what injury is and how you can reduce its probability or even completely avoid it happening.
What Is An Injury
An injury is body damage. It is caused by external or internal forces on your body. External forces can be impacts with other objects or weight applied on part of your body. Internal forces are muscle contractions or pressures applied on a lever.
So you can get injured from some outside influence or just by using your own body.
Anyone who works out or has been involved in any kind of sport has experienced an injury at some point. It may be something mild like:
Or more severe like:
- Joint dislocations
- Broken bones
In most cases, mild injuries are easily treated and will take a short time to recover. The more severe an injury is the more time it will take to recover from it. In worst cases, it will leave you with lifetime consequences. So, injuries are not to be taken lightly.
Reasons To Prevent Injury
Besides being dangerous to your existence, there are plenty of reasons for preventing injuries. Here are some of the most obvious ones:
- Avoiding pain and suffering caused by injury
- Avoiding long-term problems the injury may cause (like severe disability or even death in its worst forms)
- Limiting the time you are not able to function at your full capacity
- Reducing the time away from workouts
- Improving the overall happiness in your life
How To Prevent Injury
When we are talking about preventing injuries caused by sport or working out there are a few tried and proven ways to reduce the likelihood and prevent an injury from happening.
1. Allways warm up before workout
Maybe you heard this already. But it’s very important to warm up before any kind of workout. Any kind of workout or sport will demand an increased load on your body. Warm-up will help your muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons naturally prepare for the increased load you are about to expose them to.
It’s very important not to just start with your training from the state of inactivity. It will be like forcing your car’s engine to the max right when you turn it on. It’s not good for your engine, and it’s not good for your body.
2. Stretch after the workout
When you are finished with the main part of the workout, or your sports activity your muscles will be stiff, shortened, and filled with lactic acid. To help your muscles relax, elongate, and release lactic acid do a short cool-down stretching routine after workout.
This will help your body slowly transition from the heightened state of activity to resting. Your tendons and ligaments will also be relaxed and elongated. This will reduce the probability of injury to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
3. Use supplements to protect your joints
When you work out your joints are put under a lot of pressure. This may cause damage to your cartilage or other softer tissue in your joints like the meniscus.
When you regularly use supplements that protect your joints your cartilage will be renewed faster. Cartilage and other soft tissues inside joints will be more flexible and less prone to break under pressure.
The best supplements on the market can be used for prevention as well as in recovery after the injury. They will reduce the pain, repair small damage to the soft tissue, and help your soft tissue be more injury-resistant.
Here are the substances to look for in a good supplement for joint protection:
- Glucosamine – reduces pain, especially for people suffering from osteoarthritis
- Chondroitin – keeps cartilage healthy by helping absorb water into the connective tissue
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) – reduces pain and swelling
- Collagen – provides structure, support, and strength for bones, muscles, and connective tissue. It even helps your skin look tighter and younger, so it’s also used in cosmetics.
- Hyaluronic acid – serves as a cushion and lubricant in your joints. It also helps your skin stretch and reduces wrinkles, so it’s also used in cosmetics like collagen.
4. Reduce the load below the danger zone
This may be difficult if you are a high-performing athlete chasing top-level results. But for amateurs looking to improve health by working out, it’s easily done.
If you are doing resistance training either by lifting weights or using your own body weight, you can easily avoid injury. There are a few specific ways to do this:
- Reduce the load (the closer you get to your 1 rep max the more dangerous it is, so reduce the load by removing the plate from the bar, or doing an easier exercise in a calisthenics progression)
- Avoid doing sets to failure (if you leave one to three reps in the tank you will avoid the red zone and reduce the risk of injury)
5. Use proper resting between workouts
When you plan your workouts, you should always keep enough time between them to allow your body to recover properly.
In most cases, your body needs around 24 hours of rest between endurance workouts. It takes more to recover after your strength workouts and it may take 48 or even up to 72 hours of rest between strength workouts.
This is important not just to prevent injury, but also to enable your body to benefit the most from the workouts.
If your rest is too short, your next workouts will make you perform worse than before. If you rest adequately you will perform better at the next workout. But if you rest too long the benefits from your previous workouts will be lessened and you will again perform worse than on previous workout sessions.
So, you may need to experiment with your resting periods or ask a professional coach to help you do this correctly.
Key Considerations For Successful Injury Prevention
Now let’s examine the most important aspects of injury prevention. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind for best results.
- Warm-ups: When doing a warm-up it’s best to use a 5-10 minutes warm-up routine (to not overdo it or to cut it too short)
- Stretching routine: Your stretching routine may be a little longer than your warm-up (do a 5 – 15 minute stretching after the workout, doing it over 20 minutes will be an overkill)
- Supplements: For best results use supplements for joint protection and recovery regularly according to the instructions
- Load reduction: I understand some may fear losing the effectiveness of their workouts with a reduced load. On the contrary, if you can stay injury-free, you will have more workout time and less time recovering from injury and getting back into shape.
- Resting time: Some people recover faster and some slower after the workout. So, any specific resting period presented here is based on averages and is just a guideline. You will know for sure what works for you only by testing. This is where a coach will be of great help.
My Experience With Injuries
When it comes to injuries I’m an expert. And I’m not saying this to brag. On contrary. Unfortunately, since I was 25 I was prone to injury.
I had dislocated my shoulders a lot of times. 12 times my left shoulder and 3 times my right. I had to go through a stabilization surgery to be able to function normally.
I injured my knees several times and I feel knee pain from time to time to remind me of those injuries. Without regular workouts and supplement treatment, I would be in constant pain, not having the will for normal everyday activities.
Not to say, I would be left with very limited mobility. All of which compound and leave me in despair.
I feel like after I turned 25 my life was a constant injury/recovery cycle. So, trust me when I say I know a thing or two about injury and recovery.
But not all is dark and gloomy. My injuries forced me to become more active. They forced me to work out regularly. This improved my life quality, increased my range of motion, improved my strength, and overall happiness with my life.
Prevent Injury Conclusion
Injury is no fun at all. It will reduce the quality of your life. You will be in pain and unable to function normally. Recovering from injury takes time and effort. All while being constantly in pain and with lessened functionality.
If you prevent it you will have a more fun happier life. You will not lose time in recovery and be able to function at your full capacity.
So, preventing injury or reducing an injury is something not to be taken lightly. I covered everything I learned from a long history of injury. I basically went through a lot of pain so you don’t have to.
Here you go. Enjoy the full potential of your injury-free life.
Lucky Butorac writes about regular resistance training and balanced nutrition for building strength and muscle. He was able to lose 20 lbs of fat and build 9 lbs of lean muscle mass in 2 years using bodyweight training and a healthy nutrition plan.
He is also a certified skiing instructor and is actively participating in FIS Masters Cup races. In his blog, he writes about calisthenics and nutrition for strength and muscle building.