While we all know the importance of being physically active, what can be just as important is making sure we take the steps to do so safely. Of course, this can mean different things for each of us depending on how we choose to maintain our healthy lifestyles, but here are some universal tips to help whether this is the start of our fitness journey or a path we’ve been on for years.
As you can imagine, the importance of working out safely starts long before the workout begins and remains important for the remainder of our day. Regardless of when you workout, staying hydrated throughout our days remains extremely important. As you engage in physical activity, your body loses water through the sweating process. Drinking water or sports drinks before, during, and after your routine ensures your body still has the hydration you need to function. Hydration is vital, as you can get dizzy, tired, and crampy without proper fluids, and it can impact your muscle recovery.
Stretching is another key to working out safely. While that might sound obvious to many of us, the conversation around it actually starts at which kind of stretching should be done when. Static stretching, what we likely picture when talking about stretching, akin to yoga, is actually better to help with muscle recovery and as a way to calm down, post workout, opposed to doing it as part of a pre-workout routine.
Dynamic stretching is what one might want to do to get themselves ready for the workout ahead. While it may not be what we consider when picturing a stretch, it is more like an active warmup, something light to get the heartrate up. Deciding which stretches are best for you to do are a great addition when learning what working out safely means for you.
Another way to ensure we continue to work out safely, time after time, is to take the proper steps to reduce inflammation, soreness, and pain. Especially if this is your first time developing a workout routine for yourself, minimizing those aches and pains can be a key step in making sure we keep returning to our workouts and do so safely. An easy way to introduce this into your routine is through cold water therapy.
Keep in mind, the benefits don’t end there. Introducing an ice bath into your routine can aid in getting a better night’s sleep as well as improve mood over time. If you’re wondering how long to ice bath, the optimal timing is 5-10 minutes. Any more than that can actually have negative effects on your body.