Picking up an injury is one of the most frustrating things that can happen to a fitness enthusiast, and if you happen to be a fitness industry professional, it can even impact on your earning potential. Although injury seems to be something of an occupational hazard, especially in a high-impact activity like street dance, there are plenty of steps you can take to decrease the risk of getting crocked:
1. Start off on the Right Foot
Although moderate exercise is safe for most people, it may be advisable to see your GP for a health screening prior to taking up intense or high-impact exercise. If you have a pre-existing health condition (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, asthma, etc.) or injury, you should always check with your doctor before making any significant changes in your activity levels.
Building a strong foundation from the start will protect you from injuries, so build up your general cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength (especially the core muscles), before moving on to more demanding sports or workouts.
2. Know Yourself
Your body is unique – and that includes its weak points. If you are recovering from an injury, you need to give the affected part time to fully heal. This might be frustrating in the short term, but doing too much too soon will almost certainly send you back to square one. If you are carrying a knee injury, for example, it is unwise to use a treadmill; replacing running with swimming is one way you could get your cv exercise in while taking the pressure off your knee.
Gender differences seem to play a part in the types of injury you are likely to suffer from. For example, ACL injuries are more common in women than men. Although it has been demonstrated that women have a more lax knee joint than men, the reasons for this are not fully understood. Some people claim the actions of hormones, particularly oestrogen, are to blame, although evidence for this is inconsistent.
A day or two after resistance training, you will experience delayed-onset muscle pain (DOMS). This is a symptom of the microscopic damage incurred during weight training. To give the muscles a chance to heal properly, try working different muscle groups on alternate days.
3. Warm-up Properly
All Street Fit® Instructors are made well aware of the importance of warming up prior to a Hip Hop Workout®, but whether you’re playing for a soccer team or lifting weights, working with cold muscles will put you at risk of injury.
4. Use your Trainer
A good instructor/trainer should always be watching for correct technique, but the demands of large classes can sometimes mean errors are missed. If you feel you aren’t performing the moves or skills correctly, make sure you ask for advice. Consider the merits of a private instructor; they may be expensive, but they will assess your capabilities and introduce a tailor-made workout for you. Even a few sessions could set you on the right track.
5. Eat Well
When exercising, especially if they’re trying to lose weight, some people reduce their calorific intake too drastically. Remember that your muscles use lots of fuel, so stock up on carbohydrates before your workout for a slow-release supply of energy. Lack of energy leads to poor focus and stamina, both of which can increase the likelihood of picking up injuries. You should also keep yourself well hydrated to replace water lost through sweating.
Disclaimer: This blog post is for information only and does not constitute expert health advice. For expert advice, consult with your GP or trusted healthcare expert.