April 30, 2004, Newsletter Issue #184: Ouch! Don`t get hurt!

Tip of the Week

1. Stay hydrated. Many injuries, especially tendon, can directly be linked back to inadequate hydration. Water keeps your connective tissues supple and resistant to stress, so if you start your workout hydrated, you are way ahead of the game.

2. Warm up. You`ve all heard that you should warm up thoroughly, but what you may have missed is that you should warm up according to only you. If you are following a video and don`t feel ready by the end of the warm-up, hit pause and continue at your own pace. Age, weather, and level of activity all affect the time it takes your body to get warm. A proper warm-up will have you sweating lightly before your first hard set. Don`t compromise this, even if you`re pressed for time.

3. Don`t be afraid to quit. Yes, you read that right! Using the motivator "to quit is to fail," most people are pushed to keep going. But use this "help" within reason. Sometimes there are good reasons to back off. Feelings of frailty, lethargy, or wobbliness are signs that you are either overtrained or having an off day. In both instances, it`s usually better to pack it in, warm down, fuel up, and get ready for the next day. Not much good can happen when you`re training in this state, but a lot of bad can.

4. Warm down. Don`t just finish your last hard set and reach for a beer. It`s important that you start to flush out all that accumulated lactic acid. Warming down will help you recover faster and lube your joints and tendons, reducing the chance of injury.

5. Fuel up. A post-exercise snack that is 4 parts carbs to 1 part protein will accelerate your recovery by more than 25%. This means you`ll perform better for the rest of the day and be ready to go again tomorrow. Losing this advantage increases your chance of injury by, oh, about 25%!

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