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6 Ways to Avoid Workout Injuries

How to get fit without getting hurt.

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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."

While almost any pro can give you some pointers worth listening to, Plancher says you should make certain your trainer is aware of your personal parameters, including your age.

"If your trainer is in their 20s and you’re in your 40s, make sure he or she has some background in the natural degenerative processes of the human body," Plancher says. "There is such a thing as a trainer pushing you too hard, and that can increase the risk of injury."

4. Act Your Age 

It starts out as a simple desire: You just want to get more exercise. But somehow, a kind of "fitness amnesia" takes over. Before you know it, you’ve blocked out the years -- or sometimes decades -- since the last time you exercised.

The end result is that you do too much too quickly for too long with too much intensity. And injury is often the end result, Plancher says.

The shoulders, he says, are among the body parts at greatest risk when old athletic dreams die hard.

If you repeat a motion that puts too much strain on your shoulder joint or force the muscles to work in a misaligned way, Plancher says, it’s hard not to end up with a fitness injury.

5. Warm It Up and Take It Slow

Whatever type of fitness activity you're doing, you’re less likely to get injured if you warm up before every session and slowly build the pace of your workout over time.

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