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How to get fit (without getting injured)

September 1st 2014 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru

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10 fitness tips to keep your new workout plan as injury and pain-free as possible

Embarking on a new exercise regime? Make sure an injury doesn’t hold you back from reaching your health and fitness goals, with these top tips from personal trainer Dalton Wong.

Sports injuries are far too common a problem and can strike at the most infuriating and random of times. From a swollen knee to stiff joints and a sprained ankle to surgery, here are the facts to bear in mind when increasing your gym visits, amping up your cardio or lifting weights to ensure that you don’t do more harm than good when it comes to incorporating more exercise into your lifestyle. Here are Dalton's words of workout wisdom...

1. Know what you’re doing

Before starting any exercise plan make sure you know what you are doing. Make an appointment to see an expert who can advise you on if the exercise program you’re about to do is actually going to help you and not injure you. They will be able to teach you or advise you on how to do the actual exercises. Poor exercise form is the main reason why people get injured.

2. Start off slowly and know what exercises are best suited for your body type

If you have a little extra weight to lose, are recovering from an injury or have recently had a baby, take it easy. HIIT training or even weight training may not be best suited for everybody, so seek advice on what exercises are best for your current body type.

3. Listen to your body

A little sore in the same place or a niggling issue? Get it checked out! Our bodies are very sensitive and it’s telling you that it needs some attention. Soft tissue work is amazing at relieving several muscle issues and should be essential in any exercise program.

4. Plan your rest days

An athletic body wasn’t built in 4 weeks, no matter what those fitness magazines say! It’s very important to rest and recover and exercising more is not always better and can lead to injuries. I advise for every 5-6 weeks of training take a week off to recover and let your body rest - get a massage instead!

MORE GLOSS: 5 ways to get the most out of your rest day

5. Have a balanced approach to food

Carbohydrates can help you refuel and recover after your workout sessions, fats help reduce inflammation and protein can help build lean muscle mass. Think about protecting your body from the inside and not just the physical aspect.

6. Stay well-hydrated at all times

Dehydration can lead to a reduction in performance and injury. So always have good clean water with you at all times and please avoid those fluorescent-coloured sports drinks.

7. Don’t burn the candle at both ends

Sleep is as important as your diet and exercise plan. We get stronger, fitter and healthier while we sleep. Poor sleep patterns can lead to poor results in the gym and then injury.

8. Make sure that you’re wearing the correct attire

There is a huge debate on what type of shoe is best to wear for any given sport. It may be trendy at the moment to wear barefoot types of shoes or even super-cushioned shoes, but if you’re new to wearing them or slightly overweight then the wrong footwear can cause an injury.

9. Please pay attention

Fitness trackers and iPods/phones are great for helping us keep track of what we’re doing and keeping us motivated. However, please pay attention to other exercisers, bikes, pedestrians, dogs and most importantly CARS! Jumping unexpectedly away from a moving object can really increase your chances of an injury.

10. Have fun and enjoy the process...

...if you really dislike your activity/sport/exercise program and your focus is not at the task at hand. This lack of concentration can lead to poor form and injury. When we really enjoy an activity, then we do what we can to make sure that we can keep doing it!

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