One of the many things that one cannot predict in life is a muscle injury. You may just be doing your own thing, working out or playing an outdoor sport, when you get a sudden, sharp pain, only to realize that you may have pulled or even torn a muscle.
When you engage in strenuous physical activities, you push your body to the limits, which put you at risk of sustaining a muscle injury. The good news, though, is that this risk can be reduced with proper muscle-strengthening activities exercises and engaging in healthy habits.
Proven by scientific research, the following are ways in which you can avoid muscle injuries.
P.s: This article has contribution of John, a blogger from www.kneesleevesreviews.com. Visit his latest reviews - Top 8 Best Knee Sleeves Reviews 2017
1. Monitor Your Heart Rate
An individual’s heart rate variability (HRV) is the key to monitoring his/her fitness level. An optimum cardiovascular performance and autonomic nervous system conditioning are characterized by a low resting heart rate which can quickly accelerate to peak rate and return to baseline rate (higher HRV). A lower HRV is an indication of fatigue caused by overtraining, and could ultimately lead to a muscle injury should you train too fast and too hard.
With today’s smartphones and smartwatches which employ top-of-the-line technology, it is now very easy to keep your heart rate in check. Not only are they easily available in the market, they are very simple to use.
Here’s how you should keep track of your HRV: measure the time taken by your heart rate to go back to 125 beats per minute after an intense exercise session. If it graduates to lowering faster over time, it means that your cardiovascular fitness is improving.
2. Perform eccentric strength exercises
Muscular injuries such as hamstring tears are a common occurrence in sports, and sustaining one leads to great loss of playing time. Recent studies, however, have proved that certain eccentric exercises such as Nordic Hamstring Curls can effectively prevent muscle injury. Training your muscles to maintain strength and tension as they lengthen, they help in preventing muscle tears, which occur when your muscle has to absorb a high amount of force due to elongating suddenly.
3. Monitor your Vitamin D-levels
Believe it or not, a very large section of the population (more than 70%) has lower-than-ideal Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D plays a significant role in vital muscle functions, such as electrolyte balance and protein synthesis; a lack of the same therefore will lead to a lower balance of electrolytes, which inhibits muscle recovery and leads to premature fatigue, failure to synthesize protein and a inhibits and injury. In addition, it also leads to severe electrolyte imbalance and affects strength and performance.
Optimal 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood levels should be 40-50 ng/ml. Athletes, especially those playing indoor games must take at least 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily. You must, however, consult with your physician before you start on any high-dose vitamin regimen.
4. Avoid Over-stretching While Warming-up
That vigorous stretching deters muscle injury is one of the biggest myths of any training program. On the contrary, over-stretching decreases performance by causing muscle damage. The real logic is that if a muscle is shocked by a sudden force or exertion of strength (especially during a warm-up session, which is meant to prepare the body for an intense workout session), it's at a higher risk for a tear. This is why you must keep your warm-up session short and sweet and lay off the Toe Touches.
5. Get a screening of your functional movement
A very popular trend that is used to prevent muscle injuries is the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). The FMS is a battery of seven scored drills that measure the level of fitness level and detects fatigue states. A low score and/or signs of asymmetry on this test indicate weakness and low mobility issues. When you have an imbalance, the low function of one muscle group is substituted with another, which increases the chance of a person sustaining a muscle injury.