Exercise is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. The World Health Organization recommends that healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 64 perform at least 150 minutes of
moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. Many adults cite hectic schedules as their reason for not getting enough exercise, but even those who do find time to exercise could find themselves sidelined if they do not take certain preventive measures to reduce their risk for injury. Though injuries can happen to even the most seasoned and knowledgeable athletes, there are certain measures adults can take to reduce their injury risk.
• Recognize your limitations. Once you have established a regular exercise routine and your body has grown accustomed to daily exercise, it can be tempting to overdo it or even unknowingly push your body to points that put you at a greater risk of injury. But recognizing your limitations is an essential part of avoiding injury. As you exercise more, you may notice certain areas of your body respond better to exercise than others. For example, if your wrists ache after strength training sessions, reduce the amount of weight you are lifting or look for strength-building exercises that don’t require lifting weights.
• Warm up before each session. No matter how accustomed your body is to regular exercise, warming up before each workout is still necessary to avoid injury. Warming up before each workout elevates your heart rate and increases circulation, loosening the joints and increasing blood flow to the muscles you’re about to exercise. Between five and 10 minutes of low-intensity cardiovascular exercise can help loosen up your body and prepare it for the more grueling workout to come.
• Switch your routines every so often. When exercise becomes a part of your daily routine, you may end up hitting a plateau. When that happens, your workouts may feel less effective. Switching up routines every so often can combat that problem while also reducing injury risk to overtaxed muscles forced to endure the same exercises day in and day out. Diversify your workout every so often by choosing new exercises and switching up the cardiovascular portion of your workout.
• Give your body time to rest and recover. Exercise feels good, both physically and mentally. Daily exercise can help adults lose weight, and shedding those extra pounds can improve mobility and help adults live more active and fulfilling lives. Exercise also causes the release of hormones known as endorphins, which trigger positive feelings in the body. Those positive feelings can be somewhat addictive, but it’s important that adults give their bodies time to rest and recover between workouts. Lack of time to rest and recover makes bodies vulnerable to injury, so include time to recover in your weekly exercise regimen.
Daily exercise can help adults live long, healthy and fulfilling lives. But it’s important that men and women of all ages take steps to reduce their risk of exercise-related injury.