When it comes to working out, safety is of the utmost importance. That being said, there are certain steps one should take in preventing and dealing with injuries.
First and foremost, you want to make sure you are cleared by your doctor and you know what your specific restrictions and contraindications may be. For example, if you have a rotator cuff injury, you probably wanted to avoid using weights overhead.
You also want to make sure you do not set yourself up for failure and try to do much when initially starting a program. Instead, gradually increase the length of your workout and intensity. I also recommend consulting a personal trainer to show you proper form and technique. If you have a specific injury or condition already, it cannot hurt to ask your physician for a prescription for physical therapy, that way you’re sure to be under supervision. From there, I still recommend taking those exercises and recommendations from rehab to a Personal Trainer. Many of us are used to dealing with modifications and recommendations from physical therapists.
It is also important that you both warm-up and then stretch. A warm-up prepares your body both physically and mentally for your workout. A warm-up is also important to increase your body temperature, especially in cooler climates, prepare the joints, muscles and connective tissues for the intense portion of your workout. The warm-up should start gradually at a mild intensity, then leading to a moderate intensity. I always advise clients to stretch after the warm-up, that way you are not stretching a cold muscle. It is also important to stretch following your workout and cool-down and prevent injury.
Proper hydration and nutrition are important for your body to perform optimally. I do not recommend eating a large meal and then going jogging. But, you should have had a nutritious meal about two hours prior. It is imperative that you keep yourself hydrated. Make sure you are drinking prior to your workout, during and afterwards.
Be sure to listen to your body and stop if you experience acute pain, abnormal fatigue or dizziness.