As our sessions in the gym get higher in intensity and we push our bodies to the limit, sustaining injuries are becoming an increasingly common occurrence. With the rise in popularity of fitness, we are all training like athletes, but not necessarily thinking about recovering like one. Unfortunately, this overload of working out and undervalue of form, function and recuperation leaves us wide open for injury to strike.
So how to safeguard your body? Read on for our top injury-prevention tips.
If you haven’t heard of this latest fitness industry buzzword, let’s break it down.
Prehab is short for “preventative rehabilitation”. Instead of working backward trying to fix the body once broken, the method is an active modality used to minimise the risk of injury and bullet-proof your body, long before injury has the chance to hit. Utilising an array of activation, engagement and mobilisation exercises, prehab protocols focus on ensuring postural alignment, correct biodynamics and movement patterns in a controlled manner to build up awareness, neural connectivity and functional strength.
Check out this Prehab Protocol Series for some of the best Prehab exercises to utilise to safeguard your body.
Sleep is the most important time of our 24 hours devoted to our recovery. It is where our most powerful repair and progression occurs. Sustaining adequate levels of sleep helps our mental health, hormonal balance and muscular recovery more than any spa treatment you could find. Overnight, our body moves through specific healing phases to repair damaged tissues and cells, regenerate our energy systems and reset the nervous system for the day ahead.
A continued pattern of late nights and too many coffees to try and perk back up the next day not only impacts the opportunity window for the body to heal itself. Additionally, it sends you into a nervous system stress state, complete with excess inflammation and decreased cognitive function, which heightens the risk for injury to occur.
Our tip? Try to go to bed every night at the same time, allow ample time to wind down and aim for 7-8 hours a night minimum.
Employ Recovery Techniques
By now most of us are pretty clued up that we need to balance our training time with down time. However, when we think of the time spent not training or at work, generally, we focus in on rest. Recovery, on the other hand, is all the techniques and actions you can take which help to maximise your body’s repair. These simple recovery techniques are like hacks which allow you to advance the intelligent body’s own natural healing processes.
Incorporating methods such as massages, myofascial release, stretching, Yin Yoga, optimal hydration and nutrition, meditation, infrared saunas, cryotherapy and compression can all advance the repair processes and ensure you stay on top form to avoid injury.
Balance your programming
Regardless of your training goals, the most crucial aspect of ensuring you stay injury free is undertaking a balanced workout program. Overtraining, repetitive loading and burn out can commonly lead to injury occurrence, so instead of hitting the same workout day in, day or out, you’re best off to mix it up.
Try to incorporate a balanced load of cardiovascular and resistance training sessions, which work both the lower and upper body, in all planes of movement including push and pull actions, across a week of workouts for best results.
Seek professional advice
An expert pair of eyes is sometimes all that is needed to correct an imbalance, fix a movement pattern or provide valuable insight that could be the difference between being sidelined with injury or continuing to advance in your training. Luckily, the fitness industry is abundant with professionals who can assist in injury prevention methods such as physiotherapy, clinical Pilates, personal training, sports massage and exercise physiology.
These experts can address issues including postural analysis, biomechanics, core strength development, workout programming and bodywork release, which will help you perform better in your next training session.