- Warm-up properly. Warm-ups can seem boring but really are essential. The warm-up gets the blood to your muscles where it’s needed. Aim for at least 5 minutes (or at least 10 minutes if you’re close to 65 or older) of gentle cardiovascular movements. This is something rhythmic and repetitive which increases your heart rate, like marching on the spot or walking on a treadmill. Start slowly and gently increase your speed and range of movement.
- Protect your back. With almost all exercises, aim to keep your back neutral – not arching backwards or curling forwards. Also keep your shoulders down, shoulder blades pulled together, chest lifted and engage your core and buttock muscles. This will all help to keep your back in the correct posture.
- Listen to your body. If you have a fever, a cold or feel unwell, put off exercise until you feel better. And if you feel any pain, stop the movement immediately.
- Keep hydrated. Sip water during exercise so that you don’t get thirsty. Also eat something afterwards, like a boiled egg and wholemeal toast, peanut butter sandwich, natural yoghurt and fruit, or banana and a few walnuts.
- Chose the right weight for you. If using weights and doing, for example, 10 repetitions of an exercise, pick a weight that allows you to complete the exercise correctly but also leaves you feeling like you wouldn’t want to do many more than 10 repetitions! Don’t be tempted to use too heavy a weight or too light a weight which is ineffective.
- Rest is as important as exercise. Allow yourself time off exercising so that your body can repair and rejuvenate. Overdoing it leads to exhaustion, illness and injury.
- Don’t forget to breath! It sounds obvious but it’s easy to hold your breath without thinking. Inhale before you start the movement and exhale as you lift/push/pull/press the weight. With cardiovascular exercise, breath as steadily as possible.
Is there anything else you can think of to avoid injury?