Whether you’re a professional athlete or you just seem to spend your life on your feet, muscle injuries can be frustrating disruptions to your daily life. These injuries may result from an accident you couldn’t have avoided, but they may also result from regular and repeated use of certain muscles. There are several common ways to prevent muscle injuries of this type, and you can implement these methods without much change to your regular schedule.
Warm Up and Cool Down
There’s a lot of myths and debates about warming up before exercise, so it’s important to acknowledge them. Dynamic warm-ups—or putting your body through the range of movements it’s about to undergo at a less rigorous pace—are valuable for increasing blood flow to muscles as well as loosening up muscles and joints. Warming up can lessen the strain on muscles and prevent soreness later.
Proper warm-ups aren’t the same as static stretches such as side bends and toe touches. Contrary to popular belief, static stretching before working out can make your muscles weaker, even if it gives you a greater range of movement. However, stretching should be part of your post-workout cooldown routine. It returns your heart rate to its original state and loosens up tight muscles, which prevents muscle injuries after you work out.
Most people are aware that drinking water while performing vigorous activity is crucial to preventing getting sick or dehydrated. However, not as many realize that hydration also factors into muscle performance. Hydration plays a strong role in circulation, which controls how much blood and oxygen get to muscles during exercise. Dehydrated muscles tend to underperform, leaving the body more prone to injuries.
Don’t Skip Sleep
When you think of the negative effects of lack of sleep, they’re are usually cognitive—sullen behavior and lack of focus. However, sleep deprivation directly and indirectly influences the body in a way that can lead to muscle injuries. When you sleep, the blood flow to your muscles increases, as does the production of hormones that regulate inflammation and help with muscle repair. Along with this, people who get better-quality sleep tend to have better coordination and faster reaction times when they’re performing physical activity. This means people who get enough sleep can better avoid accidents that can cause muscle injuries.
Get a Massage
Using massage as an injury prevention tool has been woefully under researched. However, the facts that we do know about massage suggest it may be a way to prevent muscle injuries. Massage increases blood flow to the muscles and loosens tight muscles the way warm-ups and cooldowns do. It improves circulation and, like sleep, reduces inflammation. Those are more than enough reasons to give one of our home massage devices a try.