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6 Ways to Avoid Workout Injuries

How to get fit without getting hurt.

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2. It’s All About Sex

No, not the kind you have on Saturday night. We’re talking gender.

Plancher says, "Both men and women have specific gender-related physiologic issues that can set them up for injuries when they do specific types of workouts."

This doesn’t mean either gender should avoid certain activities, Varlotta says. But it does mean taking certain precautions when you exercise.

"In general," Varlotta says, "men function better in activities requiring a rigid plane of motion -- like weight lifting in a restricted format, push-ups, Nautilus machines. Women, who have certain flexibility issues, do better at activities requiring multiple or diagonal planes of motion, like Pilates, yoga, a stair stepper, or cycling -- activities during which men are more likely to be injured."

Women are at greater risk for ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries. The ACL is a ligament that holds the knee in place. Consequently, Varlotta says, women should exert greater care when participating in activities that require quick "twist and turn" leg motions, such as skiing, basketball, and racquet sports.

Plancher says, "Studies also show that women are more prone to fitness injuries during their menstrual cycle since hormones can increase the looseness of the joints and make injury more likely to occur." Being careful during this time of the month, he says, may help you avoid injury.

3. Hire a Pro 

"One of the best ways to avoid injury is to take a few lessons with a certified trainer," Plancher says. This will help ensure your body is in proper alignment while you’re working out, which can go a long way toward protecting you from exercise injuries, he says. 

Getting expert advice can also keep you from doing the wrong workouts for your body type and help you moderate your routines so you don’t do too much, too soon, says personal trainer Alex Schroeder.

"A trainer will aid in the appropriate progression of exercises, weights, and rest periods," Schroeder says. "The right program will allow muscles to heal properly, which in turn helps avoid some of the more common injuries."

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