In our last Men’s Health Month post, we shared how men are more likely than women to avoid the doctor’s office. Men are also more likely than women to take risks that put their bodies in harm’s way. There’s a difference, though, between doing dangerous activities and performing day-to-day tasks with less care than you should. Following easy injury prevention strategies when you play sports, help out around the house, and do tough jobs will help to keep you on your feet.
Here are a few of our favorite steps to take to lower your risk of injury.
- Know your strength. Pushing your body past its limits is a surefire way to get yourself hurt, whether you’re doing chores, at work, or in the gym.
- Make back health a priority. Back injuries are very common, especially as we age. You can protect your back by practicing good posture, remembering to lift heavy things with your legs and doing exercises to strengthen your core muscles.
- Athletes and gym-goers: be sure to warm up! You put your muscles and joints through a lot when you exercise, and if you jump straight into it, you could hurt yourself. Get your body ready by doing stretches to loosen up and five to ten minutes of light cardio, like jogging, to get your heart pumping.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration can hit you at any time, but when you are being active or if you’re outdoors on a hot day, it’s especially important to drink plenty of water. Severe dehydration is a medical emergency and can lead to other health problems.
- Wear protective gear. You might not like how it looks, but it can keep you safe. Protective gear may include:
- Safety goggles, hard hats and face masks
- Hard-toed shoes or boots
- Helmets, mouthpieces and cups
- When you get hurt, take a break, and seek help if you need it. Pain isn’t a sign of weakness, and ignoring it often leads to much worse injuries. Many injuries can be treated at home with pain relievers and RICE, or rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Don’t hesitate to go to urgent care or the emergency room if your injury is more serious.
- Good health habits keep your body in proper working condition, which helps to protect you from injury. Exercising, maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding stress, getting enough sleep, staying away from drugs and limiting alcohol all go a long way toward keeping your body and mind strong.