Benjamin Franklin’s famous axiom, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Many folks are taking this philosophy when it comes to physical fitness.
It’s common for sports teams to do a warm-up routine or stretch at the beginning of each practice. Doing yoga is a trend to not only help increase flexibility, but also prevent, and sometimes treat, injuries.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons warns that if practiced incorrectly, the practice could cause injuries such as torn ligaments and muscle strains.
However, the AAOS believes the rewards of yoga far outweigh any possible risks, as long as the following steps are taken to prevent injuries:
- Speak to your doctor before participating in yoga if you have any medical conditions or injuries.
- Work with a qualified yoga instructor.
- Discuss any illness/injury with your yoga instructor beforehand so that he or she can recommend pose modifications.
- Learn the type of yoga you are performing. There are hundreds of different forms of yoga, some more strenuous than others.
- Select the class level that is appropriate for you. If you are a beginner, start slowly and learn the basics like breathing and do not risk stretching too far.
- Wear appropriate attire that allows for a wide range of motion.
- Warm up properly before each session.
- Ask questions if you are uncertain about a pose or movement.
- Know your limits. Don’t be a hero. Do not attempt positions beyond your experience or comfort level.
- Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
- Listen to your body. If you are dealing with pain or exhaustion, stop or take a breather.