With an increase of working out at the start of the year, there’s always a corresponding rise in injuries. From mild muscle pain to dizziness and bone fractures, problems may arise from working out or trying a sport when you’re not physically or mentally ready. In the end, these circumstances can lead to total abandonment of fitness goals and exercise participation or even worse, total physical disability. 

Good news is there are several ways you can reduce your chance of being injured and enjoy a lifetime of doing physical activities while lowering any physical complications.

1. Drink more water. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of injury in sports and exercise. From reduced physical power, muscle cramps to the dreaded heat stroke, there’s much to be scared about when your body doesn’t have enough fluids to operate optimally. Nonetheless, it can be easily prevented if you regularly drink water every 15-30 minutes during exercise and never forego symptoms like a dry mouth or throat, mild dizziness or light-headedness.

2. Warm-up. This is the part of any exerciser or athlete’s regimen where you gently rev up your mind and body to prepare for intense activity. Warm-up exercises like light jogging, easy calisthenics and breathing exercises can allow your muscles and joints to gradually increase its flexibility and be ready for intense loads. Light cardio activities can also help your heart adjust to more intense cardiovascular activities without suffering premature fatigue or dizziness.

3. The right gear. One should not underestimate the complications of having the wrong gear. Even if some problems may be mild or just plain annoying, it would really help if you’re properly suited up for any physical activity. For instance, don't wear denim shorts to an indoor cycling class as this can create skin chaffing and great discomfort especially if you are drenched in sweat. In addition, don't wear your casual slip-on shoes if you’re attending a 10k run or playing a basketball game, not all shoes that have rubber soles have the adequate support to prevent foot related injuries like ankle sprains and plantar fasciitis (foot/sole pain).

4. Vary your workout. Although you may be obsessed with one type of exercise, it may not be enough to develop an overall fit and strong body capable of handling a variety of physical demands. For example, if you’re a running nut, try considering a twice a week resistance training routine using light dumbbells or just plain body weight. If you’re into racquet sports, try considering exercises that would help balance your body out like Pilates or yoga. This small addition can even lead you to having a winning edge especially if you are preparing for a competition or a race.