Muscle Pain Or Injury? Save Your Workout By Knowing The Difference!

It is that time of year again -- holiday season! This is the time of year many people ramp up their fitness efforts in order to look their best. This desire is understandable when you consider the endless parade of parties and social engagements one is expected to attend! So, if you are upping your regular routine or starting to workout for the first time in ages, you may experience pain. And while some pain is normal, it can be hard to tell the difference between achy muscles and an injury. Overuse injuries happen with prolonged, repeated motion or impact and can cause the bones, joints or muscles to become inflamed and irritated.  If ignored, overuse injuries can lead to serious problems down the road. Here are some tips you can employ to help keep yourself safe from trouble!

Know your limits!

If you are just starting out or getting back into working out after some time away, it can be tempting to think that more you do, the better your results will be. But if you push yourself too hard, you'll shock your body. The muscles and joints need time to get used to their new activities. While pushing yourself is important when it comes to results, make sure you are starting slowly and leaving time and space to allow the workouts to get harder as you build strength and endurance.

Always warm up, cool down and stretch!

While you may want to shave some time off your routine and save yourself some minutes, you shouldn't be doing it at the expense of your body! Starting your workout with cold muscles is the most common way people cause themselves injury. Having cold muscles means they will be stiff and you won't have the flexibility required for key movements meaning you'll be likely to tear something. Do 10 minutes of cardio and some stretches before you do anything else. A cool down is just as important as it lets your body know the workout is complete. If you stretch when you're done, you will have a greater range of motion the next time you hit the gym and be less likely to feel sore in the morning. INPOST (2) [bctt tweet="Muscle Pain Or Injury? Save Your Workout By Knowing The Difference!"]

Stay hydrated!

The number we all have floating in our heads when it comes to water consumption is 8 glasses. But, you will need more water when you are working out. Staying hydrated helps to prevent muscle cramps and dizziness. Focus on drinking before, during and after you exercise. If you want to help your electrolytes along post-workout, you can make your own special drink. Have some water with a squeeze of lemon and pinch of Himalayan sea salt.

Wear appropriate attire!

When it comes to your workout gear, it is important to wear things that fit properly and have not worn down. This is especially true for your shoes. Not replacing worn out shoes can lead to shin splints, sprains and blisters. It is also key to get shoes that support your foot. Most stores are able to do an analysis of how you walk and recommend the right fit for you.

Don't ignore pain!

Most of us expect a little pain in our workouts and can power through but it is important to examine this pain. If you are sore after a workout, ask yourself a few questions: is the pain muscular? Does the pain occur on both sides of the body? Which exercise caused the pain? Muscle tenderness is normal but you should never have a sharp, shooting pain. If you have a pain that you notice is getting worse or only hurts when you do certain movements, stop, ice the location and see a doctor if it isn't better in a few days.

Include rest days!

Our bodies require rest to be at their best. If you don't include rest in your fitness routine you will not give your muscles enough time to heal and are putting yourself at risk of an overuse injury. Make sure you are taking one or two rest days a week and mixing up your exercises to keep things balanced. We know that the summer can make you feel pressure to get fit in a hurry but remember that a huge part of that process is listening to, and being kind with, your body! What steps do you take to stay injury free?

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