Exercising is an important factor for both our physical and mental health, however with physical activity comes the aches and pains that can leave us struggling to walk, go up and down the stairs or even sit on the toilet!
So, how can you stop injuring yourself? At BetterYou we recently commissioned a survey of 2,000 gym goers to better understand the reasons why the ‘go hard or go home’ mentality is resulting in injuries up and down the country and find out how they can be prevented.
Warm up and cool down properly
The study found that two thirds of people forget to conduct a proper warm up, cool down and stretch routine during workouts. Sixty per cent confessed they didn’t know how to carry out such a regime safely without hurting themselves with two fifths agreeing that failing to warm up properly is a common cause of aches and pains. Muscle soreness can be reduced by including static stretches in your warm up and cool down, holding them for up to 30 seconds at a time as well as using a foam roller.
Get some sleep
Over two thirds agreed that a lack of sleep can also be the possible cause of injury, with 43 per cent saying they will often try and get a better night’s kip when they have hurt themselves following exercise.
Typically, adults should aim for eight plus hours of sleep a night, although this is individualised based on age, health and training schedule. By doing this you will optimise tissue growth, release important hormones and restock energy stores.
In the hour before bed, known as the golden hour, make sure you are preparing your body for sleep. We warm up for exercise and we need to wind down for sleep. Minimise your time in front of ‘blue screen devices’ as it stimulates your brain, keeping it awake. A bath or shower before bed is also great and activities such as playing a musical instrument, knitting, colouring in or meditating help your body and brain prepare themselves for sleep.
Don’t succumb to peer pressure
Participants confessed that peer pressure from friends to be fitter was a reason they pushed themselves too hard resulting in injury. Others pushed harder to be better than fellow health buffs and some tested their boundaries in a bid to impress.
Give yourself recovery time
Just under three quarters said recovery is important to them, but just over a third will treat their aches and pains with rest. One quarter believe they don’t need to give themselves rest days with one sixth in fear of losing their fitness levels if they take time off.
Poor sleep patterns, muscle tension and aches and pains are all symptoms of a potential magnesium deficiency. This mineral is vital for anyone carrying out any kind of exercise routine. An insufficient amount of cellular magnesium may result in a build-up of lactic acid, causing muscle tiredness and soreness.
Many of us are time poor and yet recovery is essential to ensure that we can hit the next exercise session sooner and harder. Magnesium is a crucial part of this recovery process as it helps improve muscle function and flexibility, maintain electrolyte balance and reduce fatigue. It’s also important for skeletal strength and energy production and will help you to sleep well after your workout.
In our current environment we are surrounded by an excess of processed foods, bad fats and refined sugars which are depleting our magnesium levels. Seven in ten of us suffer from low levels of magnesium. It’s a fact that we don’t get enough from our daily diet, and so a supplement that gets straight to where it’s needed is the way to recharge our systems.
Studies have shown that supplementing transdermally (through the skin) offers effective absorption. As it’s absorbed through the skin, it bypasses the digestive system delivering the mineral straight into the body tissue providing a fast and effective dose directly to where it’s needed.