Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It can prevent a number of health conditions, and it offers unmatched physical and emotional benefits. Whether you run, bike, hike, swim, lift weights or participate in Pilates or yoga classes, you are improving your overall health and well-being.
While there is a risk for injury with any exercise or training routine, there are various steps you can take to diminish this risk, and Norton Sports Health specialists are here to help. Our team includes orthopaedic physicians who specialize in sports medicine. Should an injury occur, we provide advanced care and design customized programs to meet your specific needs.
If you experience pain or an injury while training and would like to make an appointment with a sports medicine specialist, call (502) 629-1234 and our staff will work to get you in as soon as possible.
Starting an exercise program
Sometimes the hardest part about exercising is getting started! Find a workout routine or program that you enjoy doing, and set aside a specific time to do it. Start slowly and build your strength and endurance gradually. Norton Sports Health specialists can help you determine the program that works best for you. Your exercise program should consist of these three main elements:
- Aerobic conditioning: Elevates heart rate for a sustained period of time. Walking, jogging and biking are excellent examples. Using rowing machines, stair climbers or treadmills is also effective.
- Flexibility exercises: Helps improve your range of motion, lessens muscle tension or soreness, and reduces your risk for injury. Yoga and tai chi are excellent examples.
- Strength training: Reduces your risk of injury and helps your body burn calories faster. Working with free weights or doing push-ups helps increase muscle mass.
Safe training tips to prevent injuries
Injuries can happen with any exercise or training routine. Reduce your risk by following these guidelines to maximize your safety.
Before you begin
- Consult with your physician before beginning a new exercise program.
- Develop a plan that is well-suited to your current fitness level.
- Set achievable goals for yourself.
Safe exercise guidelines:
- Use proper equipment
- Warm up
- Take your time
- Drink water
- Cool down
The risk factors that can lead to injury during exercise include the duration, intensity or frequency of an exercise; weather conditions or terrain; incorrect equipment; previous injuries; a history of smoking; low aerobic or muscle endurance; or underlying conditions that predispose you to injury. Norton Sports Health specialists can help you minimize risk factors.
Although many people omit stretching at the end of a training session, this is an important step in any workout program. Stretching performs these important functions:
- Improves posture by improving muscle balance around a joint.
- Reduces the chance of injury.
- Reduces soreness after training by increasing the blood and nutrient supply to muscles and cartilage.
Remember to stretch before and after a training session, since stretching both warms up your body in preparation for a workout and relaxes it afterward, enhancing muscle recovery.
Proper diet is necessary for any training or exercise program. It is always important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet, but it is especially important if you’re starting or participating in an exercise routine.
By including the right amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fats into your diet, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, you can make the most out of your fitness routine and training. A combination of carbohydrates, proteins and fats allows your body to produce energy most efficiently.
Sugars and starches in carbohydrates help your body produce energy. Good sources of carbohydrates include:
- Whole grain bread
Although fats are an alternative energy source, too much fat in your diet can cause serious health problems. Choose a diet that is low in saturated fats and cholesterol, and stay away from trans fats.
Proteins rebuild and repair damaged muscle tissue. Proteins also produce energy. Good sources of protein include:
- Dairy products