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Health Team

Warming up before working out reduces injury risk

Posted December 27, 2013

Whether exercising indoors or out, in summer or winter, the first tip for a safe workout is to hydrate. Drink plenty of water the night before and during workouts.

WakeMed physical therapist Dan Cyr also recommends a warm-up.

“I don't recommend a stretch before a run. I recommend a brisk walk.” He said.

Warming up the muscles is especially important in winter to ward off injury.

“A cold muscle is pretty much the worst thing you can (have) to end up hurting yourself,” said Dr. Okechukwu Nwoko, a WakeMed orthopaedic surgeon.

In winter, runners often switch to a treadmill for indoor workouts. Nwoko says it's also important to adapt, because running on a treadmill is different from running on pavement.

“It's less of an impact,” he said. “It actually changes how you do your activities or how you do your gait.”

Proper running shoes are important, and so is posture. Cyr says runners tend to lean forward more on treadmills and often grip the handles.

“Our goal is really get people to look upright a little bit more once they're comfortable on the treadmill,” he said.

Once the run is over, it's time for cool down.

“You want to walk for a couple minutes afterwards,” Cyr said.

Count your pulse rate until it's under 100 beats per minute, or just wait until you don't feel short of breath, then gently stretch.

Cyr says the risk of muscle injury is lower if muscles are warm going into a stretching routine. Working out the right way can encourage you to return for more without pain or injury.
 

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