Proper Technique is Key to Benefiting from Exercise
Posted on: 11/30/2015
Improved sleep quality. More energy. Happier mood. These are just few of the life-changing benefits that regular exercise can have on the body and the mind. In addition to these benefits, exercise can also help with multiple types of pain, including back pain and joint pain. But the perks of exercise can quickly turn to injury and discomfort if proper form and technique are not utilized. In fact, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, almost one million people are treated every year for injuries sustained during exercise. Don’t let this deter you – with a little bit of knowledge on proper form, you’ll be on your way to benefiting from the effects of exercise and keeping pain and injury at bay.
First things first: check with a professional about any type of exercise you’re considering. Depending on what type of injuries or pain you have, certain types of exercise can either hurt or help you. Talk to a doctor, physical therapist or personal trainer – they can help you figure out an individualized exercise plan that’s tailored to your specific ability and needs.
Although it may be tempting to jump right in with the heavy weights, start slow. Weights that are heavier than you can control can lead to slouching, overstrain and poor form. Aim for a weight that you can safely do 10-12 reps of before fatigue sets in. As you gain strength, you can adjust your weight in two to five pound increments.
Protect Your Body
It’s crucial to protect your back and knees during exercise. Your back should be straight, not curved or slouched, for any type of lifting or squatting exercise. When doing squats, you should be able to see your toes in front of your knees. Always keep your core engaged to take the strain off your back – this also helps work your abdominal muscles.
Lifting isn’t the only way injuries happen during exercise. Cardio can cause serious problems if you aren’t careful. When doing any sort of jumping or running, it’s important to land softly on the balls of your feet. Coming down hard can shock your knees. Again, start slow – warming up gets your muscles ready for the real workout, and is crucial to preventing strains and sprains.
Recovery is an important part of the process that shouldn’t be ignored. Something as simple as the way you breathe affects this. Breathe in just before the impact moment, and exhale as you’re completing it. Proper breathing techniques help generate power when it counts, and reduce blood pressure and heart problems later. Take a day or two a week to rest from exercise. Even if you don’t necessarily feel sore, your muscles have micro-tears that must mend before more exercise.
No matter your fitness or ability level, there are types of exercise that are right for you. With these tips on proper form, you’re one step closer to reaping the benefits from physical activity.