If you are working out then it is very easy to injure yourself if you do it incorrectly. Pulled muscles and other injuries are quite common, but if you take steps to look after your muscles, you may find that you can avoid injury. Most people know that they need to warm up and cool down after a training session and that this can help to prevent muscle and joint problems, but many people are unsure how this should be done.
Warm up, cool down!
When you warm up before a workout you are preparing your body to work harder. This will help to get your blood flowing and warm up the muscles. It also helps to increase your breathing rate, and your body is adjusting for what happens next. An easy way to warm up the muscles is to do some form of aerobic activity at a reduced pace, so if you are going running, jog gently for a few minutes to get the muscles warmed. If you are cycling, simply opt for a lower gear and start out slowly before building up. You can also add in a few stretches, but opt for those that you can do standing up. You need to be aware of your own fitness levels because the amount of time you need to take to warm up will vary depending on your requirements. If working out is something that is new to you, spend more time on the warm up.
A cool down will help your body to recover from the workout, and this is best done by slowing down your workout before the end so that your body can adjust to the slower pace again. If you are running, simply slow right down for the last few minutes. Once your breathing has returned to normal, you can stretch your muscles; these are exercises that you can do on the floor if you wish. The stretch should be done while your muscles are still warm.
The importance of stretching
Many people overlook this because they feel that it takes up too much time, but it will help with flexibility and can help to improve fitness levels. Avoid stretching muscles when they are cold, and always do it gently – it should not hurt at all. Each stretch should be held for up to 30 seconds before it is released.
Massage for muscles
Massage can be a great way to help your muscles to stretch and help the body to recover from a workout. There are various ways in which a massage can be carried out, and forms such as Swedish massage and deep tissue massage are thought to be very beneficial for those who work out regularly. The use of essential oils in massage can also help the muscles if there is stress and tension. Opt for a blend of essential oils for muscle pain if you want to keep your muscles strong – a 15ml bottle should be plenty for several applications.
If you want to improve your fitness, taking care of your your muscle health is very important in order to get the most from every workout.