Jumping Back To The Gym? 7 Ways To Avoid Injury
Hands up if you let your exercise routine slide over the holidays? Snap! The combination of a busy social schedule and it being the end of the year - something’s got to give - and more often than not it’s our relationship with exercise.
But that’s OK! We’ll go twice as much in January! New year, new me. However, this method of going hard in the first month of the year can leave you at risk of injury. The surprise of sudden intense exercise can actually wipe you out for further weeks.
Fear not - the Organica team have been busy stretching and flexing over the most natural ways of easing back into exercise to keep you and your body safe and shock-free. It’s all about maintaining the mindset that our gym visits are a positive and nurturing experience for our body and mind, not a punishment for poor diet or laziness. Working out benefits you in numerous ways - not just physical so a trip to a class, the gym or a run in the park is an awesome act of self-care, as is prioritizing injury prevention.
So, how exactly do you protect yourself from injury? Hit the ground running with confidence by trying our 7 Organica-verified tips, with the aim of keeping you mindfully moving and pain-free on your journey back to the gym!
1. Wear It Right
When was the last time you purchased a new pair of running shoes? If you’re having to think about it then it’s time to hit the sales! Head to a specialty store for the optimum advice on what you should be treating your feet to - they can see what shoe’s design is best for your body weight, gait and arch. You won’t believe how many injuries are actually related to poor fitting or worn-out shoes. Get it right from the ground up and invest in the best for your feet.
Did you know that your warm-up should be active? This means walking or engaging in dynamic stretches, such as leg lifts or arm raises, for at least 5-10 minutes. If you work out on “cold-muscles” you will be way more prone to injury. A proper warm-up will improve blood flow to the muscles and reduce any stiffness, reducing the risk of hurting yourself.
3. Total On Technique
Why not treat yourself at the start of this new decade to a session with a personal trainer? This way you can refine the techniques of your existing practices, learn new ways of working out key muscles and make sure you’re in the right positions for each of your sets. Knowing how a movement feels when done correctly, can not only transform your work out but is excellent for injury prevention.
4. Build It Up
Start slowly. You can’t just walk into the gym and start lifting the same weight you had when you left. Nurture your muscles by allowing them the time to build back up or you’re asking for an injury to happen.
This also applies to your cardio. Despite the festivities, you might have maintained some tone but your stamina will have decreased. Don’t be demotivated and over push yourself - just be present with your current ability, do the best you can do and work your way back up. Gradually increase the speed and intensity only when you know your body feels ready.
5. Mix It Up
Are you a proud yoga bunny or a committed runner? Make sure to try something new this year, as a varied work out will tone different muscle groups and give your body a chance to recover between sessions. It will also help beat boredom, meaning you’ll be less likely to give up! Try aerobics, pilates or maybe even boxing to challenge yourself and broaden your work out horizons whilst preventing injury!
6. Rest & Recovery
The temptation of January is to be working out 7 days a week which unfortunately is a sure-fire way to hurt yourself, exhaust your body and lead you to resent it! Remember that recovery is a big part of being active and when you’re taking a day of rest, your body isn't. In fact, it’s working hard to repair itself from the work you’ve put it through! Recovery days are paramount to your long term wellness, so please don’t leave them out.
Does it hurt? Then definitely stop! Carrying on through pain will just prolong your healing time and take you away from exercising completely.
One of the most effective ways to relieve joint and muscle pain is Organica’s 100% vegan, all-natural Castor Oil! The main fatty acid in castor oil is ricinoleic acid which has been proven to reduce pain and swelling and has renowned anti-inflammatory properties.
Simply apply the oil directly to the area in need, and let it penetrate deep into the skin and target the pain points. This will reduce inflammation and relieve any pain in a matter of hours. Castor Oil also improves blood circulation which is great for muscle replenishment post-workout! Organica’s Castor Oil is paraben-free and sulfate-free too.
7. Cool Down
Have you ever been in a yoga class and a ton of people skip out the Shavasana (corpse pose/the lying down bit)? This is the cooldown - arguably the most important part of the class and the same goes for all your exercise routines! Muscles that have not gotten used to strenuous activity or not been worked out for some time will experience some form of delayed onset muscle soreness (you might hear this referred to as “DOMS”). This means you can ache and experience varying degrees of muscle tightness for 24-72 hours post-exercise. Cool down with passive stretching or a light walk and this can help minimize the DOMS effect.
The desire to prioritize exercise this new year is a great way to serve and nourish yourself and your body. The positive effect of the endorphins (feel-good hormones) you release after exercise can do wonders for your mental health too. But don’t run before you can walk - literally. Take your time, listen to your body - it will tell you all you need to know about how fast and hard it wants to go. So make sure to make space to hear it. And remember, it’s still winter so working out in the cold already plays another part in potential joint aches and pains: make sure to check out our blog from November: “Working out in winter: preventing pain and protecting your joints”.
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