To live a healthier life seems to be in the minds of more people than ever before. We constantly see ad after ad of products claiming to be the answer on everyone’s wish to live healthily. Gym memberships are on the rise as more and more people aspire to look their best. There is nothing inherently wrong with all these, of course. In fact, many health professionals promote this kind of social thinking. It has always been the goal of healthcare to give to individuals the responsibility of their own health, making them more accountable for taking care of their own body through proper diet and exercise.

But while this trend generally leads to good results for the general population, it also opens up doors for abuse. As people try to emulate celebrity culture and lifestyle, they want fast results for something that usually takes time. Many have fallen victim to bogus diet plans that falsely claim to help people attain their desired weight. Others abuse drugs in hopes of bulking up and looking superhero-like. In gyms across the world, people are overdoing their workouts and injuring themselves in the firm belief that looking good means looking a certain body type.

While these are all issues that each individual should address in their own terms, they can, however, give an effort to try to prevent injuring themselves as they workout. A lot of exercise-related injuries happen because of lack of information. People go through their workouts and exercise plan only thinking of the results but without much preparation. Below are five tips that can help people avoid injuring themselves during their work out. Some of these are already universally known, while some might come as a surprise even to those already knowledgeable about diet and exercise.

1 – Remember to Stretch

Our muscles are not some static component of our body that allows us to move. In order for us to move, our muscles pull on our bones. And like any moving component, they need to be properly warmed up before use. There is some merit to spending a few minutes stretching them out before and after a good workout. It prevents damage to the muscle cells and also allows them to function to their maximum potential. A good stretch will also promote lubrication in the muscle cells to make it easier for muscles to contract during a workout. Not only that, but stretching also promotes flexibility which allows you to perform a lot better during your exercise. All in all, a good stretch is a good thing to improve one’s overall physical health. After a workout, it’s good to give those muscles a good stretch too to prevent any injury to the cells and remove excess lactic acid that builds up after intense activity.

2 -Stay Hydrated

The whole world seems to be obsessed with staying properly hydrated, and with good reasons. Being well-hydrated means having the proper amount of fluid in our body for it to function optimally. A well-hydrated body performs well, even outside of a workout. It improves our mental activity as well as our ability to concentrate. During exercise, being well hydrated helps us cool off easily and also improves our performance during our workout. Water helps transport needed nutrients and fuel to the part of our body that needs it most. Dehydration, or the lack of water in our body, causes us to experience muscle cramps, irritability, decrease mental function including memory loss and inability to focus.

3 – Proper Nutrition

The rules for proper nutrition follow the same rules as that of hydration. In order for our body to continue to function properly, it needs energy and nutrients which it derives from the food that we eat. The body needs calories as its main source of energy and nutrients for all other functions it serves. During a workout, the body uses its reserve sugar in the liver and converts it into usable energy. If it gets depleted, it taps the fat reserves for its energy source. To avoid problems during intense exercise, we need to have proper energy reserves and nutrients for our muscles to use. Poor nutrition will lead to muscle and soft tissue injury as well as the inability to perform optimally. Post-workout, it is also important to increase our protein intake to help repair the damage in our muscles.

4 – Rest is Good

I’m sure many of us have this tendency to overdo ourselves whenever we are in the gym in the hopes of making up for whatever junk food we have eaten or a missed workout session. But this could prove to be more harmful. Our bodies can only do so much at a time. It is crucial that we give ourselves time to rest and recuperate especially during an intense exercise. Not only will it help the body recover and heal but it will also allow us to do more when we are well rested. While it is good to push ourselves to our limits to continually improve, it is also equally important to know our limits. As a perfect machine, our bodies also need regular maintenance to function properly. These include proper rest.

5 – Learn the Proper Form

Having prepared yourself to start your workout plan, keep in mind to follow proper form. Many people going into the gym or doing a workout routine for the first time, will have it in their head that as long as they are moving, everything will be fine. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Most exercise-related injuries happen because of improper technique. Gym equipment is notoriously heavy and anyone coming in with no knowledge on how to use it properly will surely be putting themselves in danger. Before using a machine, ask a trainer first, or at least ask someone who knows how to operate it. The same goes for cardio workouts like running, biking, and swimming. To truly obtain the right outcome of the exercise, proper form and technique should be followed.

Author Bio: Annah Brooks is an ardent blogger who loves to write about health, beauty, fashion, food, travel and more. She loves to spend her time travelling. She also blogs at KemperMedical, one of the leading national and global distributor of premium medical products including radiation protection products and radiology/ medical imaging supplies.