Protect yourself from these completely preventable workout injuries
Working out is beneficial for so many reasons, but an active body is one that can be more prone to injuries. Every exercise has its own risks if you don't perform it correctly, but these five common mistakes can happen in a wide variety of moves. Read on to find out what they are, and learn about the fixes that will help prevent injuries.
This is one of the most common mistakes that almost everyone's been guilty of (just ask any personal trainer at the gym). Since many of us hunch our shoulders as we sit at our desks, doing strength exercises while similarly hunched can further perpetuate bad posture, leading to imbalances and strains. Before you perform an exercise, remember to keep your shoulders down and neck up with these helpful tips to prevent you from rounding your shoulders and back.
Whether you're in Pilates or yoga class or on the TRX straps, chances are you've heard your instructor tell you to pay attention to the curve of your spine. When you curve your spine too much in poses, you risk putting pressure on the lower back, which is a huge no-no if you want to stay injury-free. Pay attention to your spine the next time you're doing a stand-up exercise or something like plank pose or a push up: your belly button should be pulled in (no protruding stomachs!). Find out how to find your neutral spine here, as well as when you should and shouldn't round your spine when on the mat.
Many exercises require your wrists' full attention. Everything from Downward Dog in yoga to lifting weights can cause wrist pain and even injury if you're not careful. Much of the time, the trick to preventing injury lies in prep. Make sure to stretch your wrists before and after a workout where you'll be using them a lot, ensure your wrists are aligned with your forearms before lifting those weights, and spread your fingers wide when doing push-ups, in Down Dog, and in Plank poses to alleviate wrist pressure. Read more about our tips for keeping your wrists pain-free while you work out here.
Running and other lower body exercises will help make you look great in jeans, but if you don't do them correctly you risk hurting your knees. Help prevent serious injury by performing lunges and squats correctly: focus your weight on your heels and not your toes when lunging or squatting to keep your balance and prevent putting too much weight on your knees. And before a run, be sure to read our running form checklist.
Balance-related injuries can happen while you're at the gym BOSU ball tumble, anyone? but they can just as seriously make any normal everyday mishap, like accidentally skipping the last stair or not noticing a high curb, turn into a serious injury. Every exercise you do will help strengthen your muscles and therefore help you better your balance, but make sure you aren't focusing too much on one area of your body and creating imbalances by overtraining it. So go ahead, tone those inner thighs just don't forget to strengthen the rest of your leg muscles as well.