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How to Strengthen Your Body to Prevent Injuries

Top Reasons to Improve Body Strength and 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 partaking in exercise or your usual 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 other words, 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 though is that there are many ways you can avoid these kinds of injuries, and 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 and this can immediately make you less likely to pull a muscle or over extend. This is simply because you increase the range of movement you're capable of without hurting yourself meaning that it takes more of a slip to hurt yourself. Stretching right before exercise or physical activity will help you to avoid hurting yourself during that exertion, but generally stretching on a regular basis will increase your general flexibility so that you're 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 of course, but 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 between your skin and your bones. This means that if you fall over you will have an extra layer of 'armour' to protect you.

Another benefit of muscle strength is that it will give you more stability meaning that you can prevent a fall or a twist. In particular this means thinking about your supporting muscles in your legs and your mid-section which are designed specifically for stabilizing your body and helping you to maintain your balance. 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 - and 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 exerting 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.
When training it's very 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 sport then using the wrong technique will make you more likely to injure yourself so it's important to perfect it and to check now and again that you aren't slipping into bad habits. Even every day 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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Linda Watson is a Physiotherapist in Perth. She is an enthusiatic person and believes in keeping herself fit at all times. She isn't a great believer in the trend of body building and feels that improving core strength and muscle strength is extremely importantin order to avoid injuries. She also gives quality advice about fitness on her blog.

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