How to Strengthen Your Body to Prevent Injuries

Twisting an ankle, pulling a muscle, or falling over can all seem like niggling problems at first, but over time they can develop into more serious problems and prevent you from performing your workout routine.

Likewise 'stress' injuries such as stress fractures and problems like shin splints and runners' knee can also end up developing into chronic issues that never go away.

In many cases, it's not the 'big' injuries that take us out of the game, but rather the smaller problems and the general wear and tear that take their toll on our body over time.

The good news is that there are many ways you can avoid these kinds of injuries. By using the right exercises and habits, it's possible to make your body more resilient to regular stress.

Here we will look at how to do just that.

Stretching -- The Art of Flexiblity

Dhanurasana
Stretching regularly helps you to increase your flexibility over time. This can make you less likely to pull a muscle or overextend. This is simply because you increase the range of motion you're capable of without hurting yourself, meaning that it takes more of a slip to hurt yourself.

Stretch your body right before exercise or physical activity. This way, you'll be less likely to hurt yourself even if you slip in the street with no warm up.

Muscle Strength -- The Armour to Prevent Injuries

Weight Lifting
Your muscles can help to increase your physical strength when it comes to lifting, pulling and pushing. They can also help you to avoid injury from falls and twists, and this works in a number of ways.

For one, muscle provides you with an extra layer, which goes between your skin and your bones. This means that if you fall over you will have an extra layer of 'armor' to protect you.

Another benefit of muscle strength is that it will give you more stability to your supporting muscles in the legs and midsection, which are specifically designed for stabilizing your body and to maintain your balance. That means, by strengthing your muscles, you can even prevent a fall or injury.

To train these supporting muscles you need to use 'compound movements' which are movements like bench presses, squats ad clean and jerks that are designed to use multiple muscle groups at once.

Muscle Balance

As well as muscle strength, what's also important is muscle balance. This means making sure that all your different muscle groups are developed to a similar level, as overdeveloping any single group can lead to injury on its own.

For instance, if you have very strong hamstrings and weaker quadriceps, this can actually cause knee problems by creating uneven pressure on your knee cap. At the same time, an uneven balance can, of course, make you more likely to fall over or injure yourself as you won't be able to balance so evenly.

While doing your workouts, it's, therefore, important to make sure that you train each and every muscle group, and that you don't neglect any area. Speak to the personal trainers in your gym and get them to help you devise a workout that addresses every separate part of your body.

Balanced Diet -- A Lifestyle Choice to Prevent Injuries

MilkYour diet doesn't just affect the quality of your skin and your weight, it also affects your strength and resilience.

A deficiency in magnesium or calcium, for instance, can lead to weak bones, while not getting enough protein will make it hard for you to build strong muscle.

If you engage in any regular exercise, or you have proven prone to injury in the past, then maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is highly important.

Technique and Stance

If you engage in sports activity, then using the wrong technique will make you more likely to injure yourself. Thus, it's important to perfect it and to check now and again that you aren't slipping into bad habits.

Even everyday activities have technique, though, whether that means walking correctly to having the correct posture when sitting or standing.

Make sure that you practice any regular movements and develop your muscle memory to make sure you're doing everything in an optimally stable fashion.

Image Source
Sarah Siblik, CC-BY-ND-2.0, via Flickr
Siegertmarc, CC-BY-2.0, via Flickr
Benson Kua, CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Flickr

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