When you exercise like the pros do, you save yourself a lot of aches and pains down the road. That’s why taking the advice of a physical therapist on your workout regimen is a smart road to take for keeping your body high-functioning and healthy.
Try out the below tips next time you head to the gym.
Stretch for Cardio
We all know that stretching before exercise is advised, but it’s particularly important before doing cardio. Why? Well, these types of exercises put your body through a lot, so it’s all the more important to prep beforehand to avoid tightness, soreness or even injury.
When you work out rigorously, the muscles you’re working will experience lactic acid buildup that will tighten them up. Your body creates this lactic acid to route oxygen to your body to fuel your physical activity. This tightness increases the probability you’ll tear something. That’s why stretching before cardio is a good idea – it helps release potential tightness both before and after your workouts.
Work Your Muscles
Beyond stretching, when it comes to safely working your muscles, remember that choosing the right weight or level of resistance is key to keeping from being injured. A good rule of thumb is to select a level that challenges you – even making the last few reps a little difficult or tiring – without choosing a level that totally obliterates you. If the reps feel too easy or too hard, add or remove weights in small increments, like two or three pounds at a time, until you hit your sweet spot.
Keep this regimen going on a regular schedule so your body gets used to your workout routine. And don’t neglect one part of the body in favor of another – combine upper- and lower-body workouts. Keep this up for the long term, and your body will build to more resistance and more weight at a healthy pace.
Detecting an Injury
In the midst of a workout, it can sometimes be difficult to tell when a pain is an injury or just soreness. That’s why it’s important to know the things to check to give yourself a mini-assessment. Start by checking if you felt anything pop or break – injuries are almost always caused by a specific event. Next, check to see if there are any signs of injury, like tenderness or bulging.
Beyond that, it’s all about time and intensity. Has this pain been sustained for a long period of time, and is it moderate, severe or unbearable? These are things you can ask yourself to determine if a visit to your physical therapist is in the cards or if you can prescribe yourself some over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or heating or icing your pain away.
Keep these tips in mind during your next workout to make sure you’re exercising safely, healthfully and smartly – your physical therapist wants to see you in top form, so make good decisions!