Whether you want to drop a few pounds or simply boost your mood, exercise is one of the best ways to accomplish a variety of health goals. When performed correctly, regular exercise can also help you to avoid the inside of a doctor’s office, by slashing your risk of many chronic conditions.

Of course, the opposite can also be true; exercise can sometimes result in injuries and pain that have you rushing to see your chiropractor. We want to help you learn how to exercise smarter, so that you can avoid unfortunate accidents or stress injuries.

Focus on the long term. Many exercise-related injuries are the result of working too hard over the short term. Yes, we all want to drop twenty pounds before our high school reunion in two weeks, but that’s just not realistic for most people. If you work your body too hard in an attempt to meet a short-term fitness goal, sloppy form and overuse can trigger an injury.

Instead, remember that exercise should be a regular part of your life for both weight maintenance and health reasons. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise (depending on your level of health) four to five times per week. It’s okay to build up to exercising more than that, but don’t push yourself too hard, too fast.

Wear the right shoes. Make sure to seek a proper fitting for appropriate footwear, such as hiking boots or running shoes. Ill-fitting shoes can throw off your stride and lead to stress injuries over time.

Switch it up. Some injuries, like tennis elbow, are the result of chronic overuse of a particular part of the body. Unless you’re training for an athletic competition, you don’t need to pursue only one form of exercise to that extreme. Switch up your routine regularly, and you can often avoid stress injuries.

Use proper form. Improper form is one of the leading causes of exercise-related injury. Research the moves you’re performing, use a mirror when necessary, and consult a physical trainer if you aren’t sure of the right way to work out.

Exercise with a buddy. If you’re lifting heavier weights, recruit a buddy for spotting and general company. Having a friend to jump in during an emergency can be invaluable.

If you do suspect an exercise-related injury, call us right away so that we can fit you in for an appointment. With chiropractic adjustments and guidance, we can often avoid the need for risky pain medications and even surgical procedures.