Top 10 Tips To Avoiding Injuries If You Are Over 40

Record numbers of men and women in their 40s, 50s and 60s are spending more time than ever before in the doctor's office and the emergency room with injuries resulting from exercise and sports. The injuries range from sprained ankles and torn cartilage, to bursitis and arthritis and result from basketball to bicycling, and from tennis to weight training.

Most injuries to the baby boomer population are similar in scope and circumstance to those in younger populations. So, in order to avoid these exercise-related injuries, the following is good advice.

1.Balance. Your workouts should be balanced between cardiovascular exercise, resistance training, and flexibility exercises.

2.Variety. Embrace cross-training. You should participate in a variety of activities each week. Concentrating on one activity or sport can lead to activity-related repetitive injuries.

3.Form. Always use proper form. Slow, controlled movements are often best. If you're unsure

about the proper form, consult a fitness professional or personal trainer.

4.Warm-up, cool down, and stretching. Many people underrate the importance of warming up, cooling down, and stretching. Prior to exercise, make certain to warm up with activities and movements that are similar to your workout, except at a much lower intensity. After your workout, spend some time stretching those warmed and exercised muscles. Your body will be less sore and more limber. Never bounce while stretching and never try to stretch muscles that have not been thoroughly warmed up (as in an entire workout or cardiovascular session).

5. Equipment. Buy and use the proper safety equipment for your activity: for example, a helmet for biking, proper gear for hiking, walking, running or training. Make sure everything fits comfortably and properly. Your shoes should match your activity and should be worn only for that activity. Shoes have a very limited life span even if they appear to look new on the outside.

6. The 10 Percent Rule. When increasing your activity, do not add more than 10 percent per week. For example, if you usually run five miles a day but want to increase to 10 miles, build up to that by increasing your mileage by 10 percent a week instead of jumping straight to 10 miles. Rapidly increasing activity can lead to injuries. The 10 percent rule per week also works for increasing the amount of weight you lift in your resistance-training workouts.

7. Fuel. Proper diet and fluid intake is crucial. Try to eat a small meal before a workout. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after activity, especially in hot weather. The smallest reduction in water in the body (2%-3%) can result in a noticeable decrease in performance.

8. Rest. Allow enough time for your body to recover and adapt to activity, especially if you are trying something new. Relative (also known as Active Rest) rest, like walking or swimming on a day that you usually run, will help you avoid the repercussions of overtraining.

9.Listen to your body. The body usually gives you clues when things are not right, but you have to learn to listen to those clues. You may have a previous injury or a new ailment that needs special consideration. Seek the advice of healthcare professional if you have any pre-existing condition that may make exercise difficult for you.

10. Hire a Trainer. Having a fitness professional helps keep you motivated but their number one job is safety. A professional certified personal trainer will ensure you aren't over doing it because it is their job to provide proper programming towards your fitness goals.

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