People love to exercise and keep healthy, but a few  precautions should be taken in order to prevent an injury during your workout.  Some typical workout injuries can include; knee or shoulder injuries, wrenched  ankles, dislocated or sprained wrists, shin splints or tendinitis, and many  other general muscle pulls and strains. Here are five safety tips for preventing injuries during your  workout, each aimed at helping you to keep yourself safer. (You might consider using a lifting belt to support your back.) Besides suffering  fewer injuries, you will also find yourself able to keep a steady exercise  schedule thanks to less downtime:

Warm Up and Cool Down

One of the very best ways to avoid injury is to do a complete  warm up and cool down before and after every workout. A warm up should be about  10 minutes long, allowing your heart rate to increase slowly and loosening up  your muscles; a warm up could include jogging in place, jumping rope, or riding  an exercise bike. Your cool down should be 5-10 minutes of walking, or other  slow exercise, to reduce your heart rate back to its normal pace. It is also  recommended that you spend some time doing a thorough stretch both before and  after warming up and cooling down, helping your muscles to prepare and cope,  respectively.   Take the time to do this before beginning your days’ work, as well.

Use Proper Equipment

A second tip for an injury free workout is to make sure that  you always have the proper equipment. For example, if you are a runner, your  sneakers should be your primary focus, whereas bicycle riders should ensure  that their helmet fits snugly and properly. You want to make sure your clothes  are not too baggy, as they could get snagged on a machine causing you a great injury.  If you have a workout room at work, take advantage of this before or after work, or during lunch break.

Work with a Trainer

The best thing about this tip is that it involves friendly  support! It is suggested that before starting any new exercise program, you  speak with a certified trainer; one chosen specifically to suit your needs.  Most gyms will offer this service free  with a membership, or you can pay them an hourly rate for the first few  sessions. These experts will guide you into a routine that is right for you. A trainer will show you all of the correct ways to perform  your exercises, and they will offer advice on the right amount of weights and  rest times, helping you to maximize benefit while limiting risk. They will even send workout information home with you, so you can exercise there, as well.

 Know Your Body

The fourth step is all about knowing your own body and paying  attention to your weak areas. Got a trick knee? Then don’t run on the treadmill  or use the stepper. Same goes if you have a bad back; there would be a few  machines and stretches that you simply should not indulge in, at least right  away. By being aware of the spots on your body that are weak, you can start to  wake them up with slow and gentle exercises, working safely towards more vigorous  exercise.  One way to fit exercise in at work is to park farther away, and take the stairs rather than elevator.  If your job requires repetitive lifting, get a partner to help you with loads that are too heavy.

Get Plenty of Rest – Your Muscles Need It

And finally, after all that exercising, you’ll need to rest!  You should take one or two days a week off to rest and allow your muscles to  heal, giving them the time that they need to strengthen and mend, and limiting  your risk of straining or pulling something. If you are sore or nursing an injury, use the RICE method: in particular: rest your injury, ice  the sore spot, compress to minimize swelling, and elevate to reduce blood flow.

You probably can’t take off work to rest your muscles, so by gradually getting used to the exercise involved in your daily routine, you will be able to work off soreness each day.  Get plenty of rest at night.

Author Byline:  This post was written by Anna Fox, who writes about fitness and dieting, and is passionate about healthy food, active lifestyle and self-improvement.