How to Prevent Knee And Shoulder Injury When Working Out
The knee is one of the largest joints in the body. It plays the important roles of facilitating locomotion and supporting the body’s weight when walking, running and jumping.
As a result, it is constantly under stress, especially when you engage in intense physical activity on a regular basis. Muscle ligaments, tendons and synovial fluid provide support, prevent violent movements and reduce friction at the knee joint.
But like all other joints, the knees can only handle so much stress before they buckle under the pressure of your own weight. It is therefore important that you learn how to prevent knee injury when working out. Here are a few precautions you can take to prevent future knee injuries.
1) Master Proper Form for Leg Workouts
Using the wrong technique during leg workouts places excessive stress on the knees, which in turn increases the risk of hurting yourself. Proper foot alignment is therefore crucial when engaging in workouts that involve bending at the knees. For instance, fitness experts recommend not bending the knee beyond a 90-degree angle during squats and lunges. In addition, the feet should always be lined up with your knees when performing any bending exercise.
2) Wear the Right Footwear and Protective Gear
Wearing shoes that fit comfortably enhances proper foot alignment when exercising. This ultimately reduces violent joint movements that may injure one of the knees. Therefore, make sure to invest in a pair of running shoes that provides good arch support, ample sole padding and firm traction.
Other than good footwear, you may also want to invest in protective gear that prevents occurrence of injury to the knee joint. For example, knee braces support joint ligaments without inhibiting mobility. If your workout routine involves squatting with weights, wearing knee braces is advisable. The braces provided added support for your knees, which have to bear more stress from the extra force exerted by exercise weights.
3) Never Rush into Workouts – Begin with a Warm Up
While it may take you several minutes longer to complete your workout, warming up before getting into the main exercise routine is important. Warming up eases tension on tendons and muscle ligaments, thus reducing the risk of knee injury. So, before you hit the gym for that step aerobics class or go for a run, spare a few minutes to stretch and warm up to prevent injuring your knees.
4) Choose Your Workouts Wisely
The likelihood of getting a knee injury also depends on what types of exercises you choose to do. For instance, if you have had past recurring knee problems, which is coming with aging, opt for low impact workouts on a stationary bike or elliptical trainer rather than running. Swimming is also more forgiving on the knees over the high impact of slamming your feet on a treadmill belt or pavement.
Another important knee safety tip is making an effort to strengthen your leg muscles. During exercise, your knees share the brunt of supporting body weight with other leg muscles such as the quads, hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors. Therefore, it is important to strengthen those muscles through workouts such as leg presses, barbell squats, and leg extensions. This will reduce the workload placed on your knees, ultimately preventing injuries to those joints.
5) Don’t Overburden Yourself
One of the common causes of sprained knees is over exertion. Whether you are a runner, powerlifter or athlete, it is never a good idea to suddenly increase the intensity of your workouts. Doing so, robs the knees and other supportive muscles the chance to grow in strength. Needless to say, the risk of injury becomes significantly higher when attempting tough exercises with weak muscles and joints. So, to avoid unnecessary knee sprains, build up your intensity levels gradually.
Knee injuries vary from mild to severe, and while many people make full recoveries, it is better to enforce a few safety tips every time you exercise and avoid being injured in the first place. This will save you from the pain of being injured and not to mention time lost during the recovery period. By following the tips shared above, it is possible to make the most of your workouts without suffering knee injuries. If you have an existing knee problem, ensure to consult a physiotherapist to find out which exercises are safe to perform without worsening your injury.
How to Prevent Shoulder Injury When Working Out
Among all joints in the human body, the shoulders are known to be the most mobile. As a result, they support a wide variety of movements in 360-degrees. Due to this remarkable range of motion, the shoulders are far more prone to injury than any other joint. If you engage in upper body strength training, you are at an even higher risk of suffering a torn rotator cuff, labral tear or dislocated shoulder. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid such injuries by practicing a few safety tips. So, without further ado, here are some expert-approved tips on how to prevent shoulder injury when working out.
1) Begin Your Workouts with Warm Up
Failure to warm up is one of the reasons why many weight lifters injure their shoulders. Attempting to bench press or use the resistance machine without warming up is more likely to result in an injury as the shoulder muscles will not be prepared for physical activity. It is therefore prudent to spare a few minutes for arm swings, as well as overhead shoulder and cross arm stretches. Such warm up routines will increase blood flow and loosen up the shoulder joints for action.
2) Maintain Good Form During Shoulder Workouts
Shoulders need to be stable during any exercise routine in order to prevent overstressing various muscles or tendons that support them. The best way to achieve this goal is by maintaining proper posture during shoulder workouts.
Many shoulder injuries result from applying poor technique when performing various routines. For instance, Subacromial Impingement is a common injury that occurs when arms are raised above 90-degrees during lateral raises. You may also suffer impingement syndrome if you recline elbows above shoulder height when performing up right rows or going too low during tricep dips.
Whatever shoulder workout you decide to try, make sure to learn proper form. If your workouts involve lifting weights, enroll at a gym that has a fitness instructor to help you learn how to get into the correct positions when performing various shoulder exercises. Watching video guides online for shoulder workouts will also pay off, especially if you are new to upper body exercises.
3) Don’t Overload with Weights
Although it is possible to perform shoulder exercises without any equipment, routines that involve the use of dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells and pull-down machines pose the highest risk of injury because of the extra weight that you have to bear. To avoid injury, exercise the shoulders with weights that you can comfortably handle. Increasing weight loads as a way of challenging your muscles to grow in strength and mass is okay. However, start with small weights and work your way up gradually. This approach will prevent splitting and tearing of tendons in the shoulder, which is likely to occur when you overuse your shoulder muscles.
4) Develop External Shoulder Rotators
Stronger shoulder muscles are less prone to incurring injury during workouts. It is therefore advisable to develop strong external shoulder rotators. You can achieve this goal by adding resistance bands or cable and pulley routines into your exercise regimen.
Many people who perform upper body workouts injure their shoulders due to lack of information on proper ways to exercise. By implementing the safety tips shared above, you can avoid shoulder injuries during every workout session. What’s more, you will be able to focus more on reaching your fitness goals and not have to worry about recovering from an injury.