Nothing sets your fitness goals back more than an injury.

July is national injury prevention month and preventable injuries are the leading cause of death for Canadian’s between ages one to 44 years old. As more of us take strides to return to our pre-COVID fitness levels, injury prevention is more important than ever.

Leading and Lagging Indicators

There are two types of indicators with fitness-related injuries: leading and lagging. Leading indicators are what or how you moved your body to create a particular injury: the root cause. The majority of injuries can be sourced back to a leading indicator. How you took out the garbage, picked up your toddler, or the position you sit at your desk every day can all be leading indicators.

Over time the strain of these muscles or tissues can lead to injury. Lagging indicators are the signs that show up when you least expect them. Your back hurts out of nowhere; there’s tension in your shoulders; you tweaked a nerve. While these lagging indicators are often mislabeled as “over-use injuries,” they usually happen because you failed to recognize, ignored, or didn’t take the leading indicator seriously.

Five simple strategies to get in front of injuries, and even prevent them for good.

Injuries happen at the most unexpected times. Keeping these five tips in mind can help you prevent unexpected injuries when working out or in your daily life.

1. Prioritize form with every movement

Do the right exercise, the right way. Incorrect form can put strain on other muscles not intended with that exercise. Pay attention to your movement for each repetition. Every movement counts!

2. Have a corrective strategy

A corrective strategy involves a screening performed by yourself or a professional on a regular basis to recognize any imbalances, range of motion restrictions, stability, or pain points. It is important to notice these early on to prevent injuries in the future.

3. Always warm up and cool down

Shoes tied, Apple Watch started, water bottle full, and… GO! Wait hold up there, Tiger. Take the time to properly warm up your body before and after your workout. Having a deliberate warm up prepares your muscles, joints and connective tissues for the work that’s about to take place. Cool down with dynamicstretches or light aerobic work followed by a foam roller.

4. Remain intuitive with your program

A minute by minute, day by day, hour by hour fixed schedule workout routine can be dangerous for your body, and for your mind. Remaining intuitive with your program means you don’t exercise on days you feel terrible or your workload is overwhelming.

When you exercise exhausted and burnt out from daily living it can backfire. Certain types of exercise trigger a flight-or-fight response, which causes a cortisol release. Too much cortisol at the wrong times can delay your efforts and even set you back a step or two. All too often we develop an all-or-nothing mindset that leads to working out even when their body says to slow down. Listen to your body and remain flexible with your schedule.

5. Hone in on hydration

Drinking water is the best way to prepare your muscles for workouts and recovery, too. When muscles are dehydrated, protein synthesis slows down, which means your muscles neither grow nor recover efficiently from workout stress. A well-hydrated body will perform better and longer. Keep a water bottle or a tumbler with you during the day to make sure you get enough fluids.

Follow these simple strategies to prevent injury when working out or during other daily activities. For year-round support, our Total Health Management program offers personalized and proactive medical care on your terms. Explore options to optimize your health and tackle short and long-term risk factors that can affect long-term physical and emotional health. Talk to an INLIV advisor to schedule a complimentary consultation.