• Blog, April 2017

5 ways to avoid muscle strain and injury

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Leading an active lifestyle, it can feel impossible to keep up with the demands of your day and recreation without inevitably getting injured or facing muscle fatigue. It can feel almost unavoidable that you get injured while exercising. However, there are a few ways you can stay active, and guard yourself as best as possible against injury.

1. Warm Up Only – Don’t stretch

One of the biggest myths in circulation at the moment around exercise is that stretching is vital before and after exercise. In actual fact, intensive stretching while your muscles are not warmed up can lead to more risk of injury than simply warming up at a slow jog or brisk walk. Despite what you might have heard around, steer away from the calf stretches and instead warm up your muscles with light aerobic exercise before your more intensive activity.

2. Strength Training

A weaker muscle is more susceptible to tearing and strain than a stronger muscle. Work out what strength exercises help you to reach your goal, and do more reps at a lower weight to build muscle endurance. While there is a myth that strength training will make you “look bulky”, it is important for injury avoidance that you incorporate some kind of strength training in your exercise regime. If weights are not your scene, try body weight exercises like doing planks, yoga or pilates.

3. Keep track of your heart rate

Exercise science research shows that keeping track of your heart rate is an excellent way to see how much strain your body is under. Warm up at about 50-60% of your maximum heart rate, aim to be in the 70% range for fat loss, and push yourself into 80%-90% only in short bursts (interval training) in order to increase your aerobic fitness. Be careful not to stay at 100% effort for long periods of time, as this indicates overtraining, where you will find yourself susceptible to injury. To see how your aerobic fitness is travelling, track how long it takes you to get to 80% of your maximum heart rate, and then back to normal. The faster this variation happens, the fitter you are becoming. Staying in a comfortable heart rate zone of around 70%-80% should stop you from going out too hard too fast and overtraining.

4. Get Proper Training

20% of athletes report muscle tightness and pain before having a muscle tear or injury. This means that knowing the signs of an upcoming injury, and how to treat your body during this time is important. This is where some extra help can come in. Having a professional coach or trainer make sure that you know the proper techniques for your sport means that you can be playing your sport in the safest way possible, and also know how to be on the lookout for warning signs. Having a professional guide you in your performance means that your technique will minimize the stress on your muscles while playing your specific sport.

5. Use the best equipment

Having the best equipment for your sport is an absolute must when it comes to avoiding muscle strain and injury. If you are playing a sport where impact injury may be a concern, make sure that you know and get the best protective equipment you can. For runners, change your shoes approximately every 100-300kms. There are apps that can help you track how far your shoes have run.

Your shoes should also be tailored to the specific way that you run, so that you can make sure that you are being supported in the ways that you need. This can be done at a good sports shoe store.

At Beds for Backs, we are also passionate about making sure that you get the best sleep when it comes to making sure your body can restore itself. Deep sleep is when your body is able to build and repair muscle, meaning that the better and more supported you are during sleep, the less likely you are to get muscle strain, and the faster you recover from injury. Just like the best fitting shoe for your unique foot, we sell the world’s first and only ergonomic beds to fit your unique body and help it to be in the best position for rest and rejuvenation. Our range of ergonomic beds keep you in a zero-stress position, allowing your body to get better, deeper sleep and maximum rest. Sleep is when your body repairs itself, it’s vital that you are sleeping in a bed that is specifically tailored to you in order to keep yourself performing at your best.

We strongly believe in helping people stay injury free and get their best rest by tailoring an ergonomic bed to their unique body and needs. You can view our range of beds for active lifestyles, or visit in store to see how the world’s first and only ergonomic bed can make a difference to your training and rest.

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