- Have a Fitness Assessment
It's good to know your fitness status so you can workout accordingly. A trainer or coach can help make sure you set the right starting point for your workouts. If you have health conditions, make sure your doctor knows about your plans before you begin a new exercise routine. If you have undiagnosed heart disease or other conditions, you should modify your exercise accordingly. Your doctor can let you know what your limits might be and suggest an appropriate amount of exercise for you.
- Increase Your Workouts Gradually
Even if you want to go crazy with your new workout, show some restraint until you adjust to the routine. If you are starting a new workout routine, you may have lots of enthusiasm and exercise too hard, too soon. This will set you up for injuries, so go slow in the first couple of weeks.
- Consider Hiring a Personal Trainer
If you want to follow a specific and targeted plan to meet a specific goal, consider working with a trainer. Personal trainers will help make your workouts more focused and efficient and will provide new tips, techniques and exercises to keep you on track. A few initial sessions may be all you need.
- Always Warm Up Before Exercise
Many athletes are injured in the initial minutes of activity because they jump right in without warming up. So, take 5-10 minutes to warm up gradually before going hard, especially before interval training or any high intensity efforts. A simple warm up can consist of walking, jogging or simply doing your sport at a very slow pace to start.
- Eat for Exercise
Eating about 2 hours before exercise helps you get the most out of training, but eating after exercise can make sure you are fully recovered for the next workout.
- Stay Well-Hydrated
Just a bit of dehydration will decrease your exercise performance, so drink according to the length and intensity of your exercise sessions. It's recommended that you drink about a quart of water within two hours of exercise, and then drink a cup every fifteen minutes during exercise. If you exercise more than 90 minutes, you will need to add some simple carbohydrates (food or sports drinks) to replenish glycogen stores.
- Don't Exercise In Pain
Exercise shouldn't cause pain, so at the first twinge of acute, or sharp pains, stop exercise. Pain is your body's way of saying, "hey, something is wrong." Pushing through acute pain is the fastest way to develop a severe or chronic injury. If you don't feel well, you should take some time off until your body heals.
- Rest and Recover
Athletes need rest, proper nutrition and a good night's sleep to recover for the next big workout. Rest days should be built in to your training schedule. Working out too much for too long can lead to overtraining syndrome and possibly reduce your immunity.
- Mix It Up
Another way to prevent injuries is by cross training. Doing the same routine day after day will set you up for overuse injuries, not to mention boredom and staleness. Cross train with other sports, yoga or weight lifting and you can still get a full body workout without over-stressing specific muscle groups.
- Wear the Right Safety Gear for Your Sport
Helmets, protective pads, mouth guards, and other gear is designed to protect against common sports injuries. Smart athletes take advantage of this simple way to prevent the most common injuries. Never play without your safety gear.