Having spent many years training for fitness, it wasn't until the last few years I became aware of how delicate a balancing act it can be of knowing how and when to push yourself toward greater fitness and avoiding injury.
I have had many injuries and hope I've learned how to approach training with the long tern goal of staying healthy and injury free. I would often push myself too hard when I did not need to or it was not the right time to push. Maybe I did not give myself enough of a rest, either between intervals, sets, or laps. It absolutely is a science and the more I read and study, the more I am able to understand when and WHY I do the things I do.
With the idea of sharing that, I posed several questions to my physical therapy group that helps heal me, Elite Physical Therapy in Charlotte, NC. Kelly Floyd started this the group and Joe and Lesley have joined in the last year. They are immensely qualified and have vast sports experience themselves as well as treating patients of all ages and ailments.
I treasure their input and advice. Here's some advice I hope you can learn from as well.
What are the training rules of thumb and why are they important to follow?
Always break a sweat before stretching. Think of your cold muscle as a piece of bacon out of the freezer. You bend it and it breaks! Heat it up and it bends much easier!
It all starts with the core, the area of your body from your diaphragm to your groin. When running, jumping, cycling, swimming, or weight training, sitting, standing, bending, you name it, keep your spinal alignment perfect. Your spine is made to be stabilized, not twisted and bent. That’s what our other joints are for.