Health

Get Active, Be Safe: Prevent Injuries from Ruining Your Fun

woman stretching

Whether you’re starting a new fitness program or you’re enjoying the weather and taking part in community recreation, be smart about your physical activity. Diving right into a new activity or even changing a sedentary lifestyle should be done cautiously and with proper training. Skimp on tasks such as stretching and you could find yourself sitting on the sidelines.

Start training early

In an effort to get out and get moving, many people don’t start training for a new sport or activity early enough. Whether you’re training for a marathon or you’re joining the community football league, don’t wait until the last minute to begin conditioning your body. If you’re simply looking to improve your lifestyle and have an end goal in mind, give yourself plenty of time to see it through at a reasonable and safe pace.

Don’t forget to warm up!

Your body is most vulnerable to getting injured when you are out of shape. Even if you exercise every day, it’s important to start every activity with a proper warm up. Ligaments, joints, and even cartilage need to be eased into every physical activity. Otherwise, pulled muscles and tendinitis are likely to occur.

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Start slow and steady

It’s important not to overdo the time you spend training or practicing. Steadily boost the time you spend on any activity or practice session. At this time, you can also begin to add more vigor to your activities. As your body adjusts to the changes, it will require you to pump up the intensity in order to get the maximum benefits. Even if you’re not training for a sport, starting off slow is a must to avoid injuries.

Adjust to your surroundings

Participating in activities in extreme weather conditions can make you more vulnerable to injuries and accidents. For this reason, try to avoid extremely hot or cold weather. Take into consideration the terrain and environment that you’re exercising in. While a run through the woods can be fun, it can be dangerous if you are on rocky terrain or in a heavily wooded area. Even if you’re playing hide and seek with the children, be wary of possible outside dangers such as nettles, visible tree roots, rocks, and hills. The fun ends quickly when someone gets hurt.

Set limits

Your body is a smart machine; it tells you when you’re hungry, thirsty, tired, hot or cold. For this reason, you’ll want to listen to your body when it begins sending you signals that it’s time to take a break. If you’re a biker, even recreational biking with your children can be taxing if your body isn’t used to the activity. Give yourself a day to rest in between new activities. Also, if you’re playing a sport or group activity, don’t feel pressured to push your body in an effort to keep up with everyone. If you do, you’ll likely pay for it later.

Stay hydrated

Keeping hydrated is essential to your physical health. Even if you don’t feel as though you’re sweating, your body needs to be replenished on a regular basis. Believe it or not, even a low impact activity can tax your body if you don’t drink enough water. Always remember to bring a water bottle along with you when you head outside and refill it throughout the day. If you and your kids are planning some fun, keep them hydrated with their own bottles of water, too.

Equip yourself

Regardless of whether you’re biking, skating, or playing a game of softball with friends, injuries can come when you least expect them. Making sure you have the right equipment will help keep those injuries at bay. This goes double for kids. Helmets and pads should always be worn when skating or biking. It’s not just important to wear the right equipment it’s also important to make sure they fit well, too. Equipment that is too big, too small or too worn down should not be used.

Getting active is a definite benefit for your overall physical health, but staying active can have significant benefits to your mental health as well. People who lead an active lifestyle are less likely to succumb to depression or illness. Because they are active and care about their overall health, they eat better and take better care of themselves. An injury, even one that isn’t serious or requires immediate medical attention, can set you back on your road to good health. Proper training, exercise, hydration, and use of equipment all play a role in making sure you have fun, play smart and stay accident-free.

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