It’s hard enough to get moving sometimes. So who wants an injury that stops all of that momentum?
Preventing injury involves several different tactics:
- The right exercise equipment. Fitness fun requires gearing up the right way - from shoes to bicycles can make all the difference between an enjoyable day of family hiking and a family bike ride that ends in disaster. Choose your equipment carefully (It doesn’t always mean paying more for it, too), maintaining it and using it the right way, too.
- The right conditioning. Have you ever gotten hit by spring fever? When you just feel compelled to race outside over the hills, celebrating the fresh air after a winter locked inside? Unfortunately, even though your mind may be ready to run, your body may not. Muscles, weakened by inactivity, are vulnerable to injury. By using the right strength-building routines, like legs exercises, you can not only prevent injuries but get more out of your exercise.
- The right stretching. Flexibility allows your muscles to move comfortable and easily. When you exercise, especially doing more free-form activities like tag or snowboarding, your body has to move quickly and easily. By stretching your muscles, you keep them supple like a rubber band, ready to move with you. Not stiff and ready to tear.
- The right training. Even something that seems as simple as hiking up a hill can take some technique to get the most out of it and do it safely. And certainly if you take up rockclimbing or kayaking you’ll need particular skills. Assess the skillset needed to enjoy an activity and then identify how you can get the skills you all need. Some skills may be easy to get from just an article, like the ones posted here. Maybe you can get an instructional video. Or maybe you’ll need to take a class or get ongoing coaching. But make sure you get the skills so you can really enjoy an activity safely.
- The right mindset. Most important for safety and injury prevention is having the right perspective. I’m not advocating pessimism or paranoia, but the more you consider possible outcomes and consequences, the better you’ll be tuned in to preventing them. Take a few minutes every time you go out and exercise to think ahead. These few minutes will save you eons of frustration that would come with an accident or injury.
- The right challenges. While we encourage taking on challenges, that’s a key bard of growing stronger in body, mind and family. Don’t go overboard. Push yourself and the rest of your family, but just beyond your comfort zone. Consider carefully whether you’re ready to handle an activity as a family. If you are – great, go for it. If not, figure out what steps you need to take to be prepared – whether it’s in training, conditioning, equipment or something else.
- The right teaching. While we all have instincts for self-preservation, much of what seems obvious to us adults is not obvious to kids. Amazing the risky moves they make? Talk to your children about safety precautions and rules of the games. Even go through a few worst-case scenarios – like what to do if a dog runs at you on your bike? A little up front talk, goes a long way towards prevention.
- The right communication. As you enjoy your activities keep communicating with each other, your children, and other people sharing the area. This includes using signals when biking or yelling "car" to alert everyone on the family bike ride that a car is coming from behind.
By following these precautions, which we go into more in depth throughout this website, you’ll save yourself much misery and gain even more enjoyment out of your family fitness time.
Exercise injury prevention is the key to long term family fitness fun.