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Keys to Preventing Exercise Injuries
copyright 2006 by Greg Landry, M.S.





There's nothing worse than an injury that sidelines just when you're starting to exercise on a regular basis. Here are tips to avoid those injuries:

1. Wear good shoes that are appropriate for what you're doing. Injuries seriously affect your motivation to exercise. Most people, especially walkers and runners, wear their shoes far too long. Worn out shoes will make you much more prone to injuries.

My absolute favorite place to buy shoes is "Road Runner Sports". They have great prices and selection but most importantly, their catalog includes a great chart for determining which shoes are best for you based on numerous factors. Even if you don't buy shoes from them, this chart is great to have.

2. Stretch, but NEVER stretch a cold muscle before exercise. I like to use the analogy of a rubber band that's been in the freezer. Your muscle, like that rubber band, will tend to tear if stretched when it's cold. However, when they are warm and supple, they stretch much more easily and are much less likely to tear. When you stretch cold muscles, you are much more likely to cause muscle strains and other injuries. Always do your stretching after your aerobic exercise session or after you have been exercising for at least ten minutes to give your muscles time to warm up and become more supple. NEVER stretch before you exercise. You are much more likely to injure yourself when you do. Stretching is not a "warm-up" for your aerobic exercise. Your warm-up should be a very low intensity version of the exercise that you're doing. Then, you stretch your muscles after they are warm. If you stretch on a regular basis, you'll reverse the natural loss in flexibility that occurs over time and you'll also be much less prone to nagging, and sometimes serious injuries, including low-back injuries.

3. Progress slowly! When most people decide to start exercising, they go all out.. and often end up injured. Increase the duration, intensity, and frequency of your exercise slowly so that your body is able to adjust to your new activity!

Put these three preventive measures in place and you'll greatly reduce your chances of injuring yourself due to exercise.




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