Brought to you by the team at Thermoskin, CoolXChange and BetterYou.
When training for a Stadium Stomp event taking a proactive approach to knee health is always better than a knee injury interfering with your challenge! Fortunately, preventing a knee injury (or re-injury) is actually pretty easy. Check out these 8 useful tips to help you with knee injury prevention:
1. Practice Mindfulness with Your Body
You can probably recall a time when your gym teacher saw a student struggling and urged him to “play through the pain” or “tough it out.” However, pain is a useful warning sign that something is not quite right with that part of your body. When exercising, staying aware of your body is key for preventing injury. Paying attention to pain in your knees is particularly important if you have injured one or both knees from over-exertion before. If you are participating in a physical activity and experience stiffness, weakness or problems extending your knee fully, that pain or weakness could be your body signaling that it’s time to take a break. Be patient with yourself and try not to feel guilty about temporarily slowing down your workout. Taking time to assess what is going on with your body during your workout may be the thing that’ll keep you from being benched for the rest of the season.
2. Always warm up before training
Often over-looked, warming up is important to get your blood flowing and your muscles activated and ready for the work-out ahead. Without warming up, you not only risk injury, you may get less from your work-out. A warm up can be a short as 2-3 minutes and should engage the same muscles you’ll be using in your work-out, at a low to medium intensity.
3. Adapt Your Exercises & Activities During Recovery
Recovering from a knee injury or starting to exercise again after sustaining a knee injury means that your knees can’t handle as much stress as they used to – and it’s important to know your limits. If your cardio activity of choice is running, swimming freestyle laps in the pool offers a workout that gets your blood pumping without taking a toll on your knees. There are plenty of alternatives and adaptations available for specific workouts. We know that sometimes, that means giving up a favourite activity, but consider that it’s usually only temporary and you might actually discover a new favourite way of working out in the process.
4. Maintain Proper Form While Exercising
Challenging yourself in the gym is a great way to bring your fitness to the next level. However, increasing weight or doing more reps is only going to help you if you are exercising safely and properly. From squats and lunges to running and weightlifting, proper form is an essential part of preventing injury. Improper form can be the result of muscle fatigue from completing too many reps or inexperience. If you like pushing yourself to your limits, we commend you. However, you should never sacrifice form for reps. Instead of focusing on speed as you approach total fatigue, focus on maintaining proper form. If you cannot maintain proper form, stop. If you’re completely sure how to perform an exercise – perhaps you only know the gist of it, and maybe you even feel a twinge of pain as you do the exercise, there are plenty of resources out there to help you. Check out fitness websites and YouTube channels for free advice day or night. Additionally, working with a personal trainer or fitness coach to develop proper form can help you build strength as well as exercise without hurting your knees
5. Wear supportive gear when required such as a Knee Brace
It’s no secret that our feet and ankles need proper support for sports, but it’s easy to overlook supportive gear for the knees. If you have experienced a knee injury before, wearing a knee brace for high-impact exercise like running is a wise idea. Wearing a brace will help stabilize your knee so that it stays properly supported as you run and jump. Even if you aren’t engaging in high-impact cardio activities, wearing a knee brace in the gym will help you prevent injury by maintaining your form. You can purchase knee braces from here.
6. Always cool down properly after a workout
It is important to cool down after a workout to let your body adapt back to its regular state. This can include gently walking to catch your breath and pace your heart rate. Simple stretches can assist your body to gently recover from any strains that may have occurred during your workout. If you have strained or injured yourself during it is important to apply compression to the affected area. Using something like a recovery ice wrap can help to reduce blood flow and heat in the injured area, minimising pain and swelling. You can purchase a recovery ice wrap from here.
7. Pay attention to your nutrition intake
Proper nutrition is important for everyone, especially people who are physically active. Consuming plenty of protein, healthy fats and vegetables ensures that your body has the nutrients it needs for muscle growth, repair and recovery. Strong muscles support healthy joints, thus lowering your risk of injury. Plus, keeping a balanced diet promotes a healthy weight, which puts less strain on your joints.
8. Use products that can help replenish minerals lost through exercise
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in sports nutrition; we lose it doing strenuous exercise and through sweat. Benefits include speeding up the recovery process, improving muscle function, maintaining electrolyte balance and reducing fatigue. There are so many ways to replenish the body: one of the most efficient being via the skin. Bath salts, oils and moisturisers help the body to absorb it, and as a bonus, it feels indulgent and well deserved after a tough workout. You can purchase Magnesium products here.