Exercise the right way

26 Jul 2012 | Lance Cpl. John Wilkes

The Marine Corps lifestyle is a highly active one. From daily physical training to the annual combat and physical tests, the possibility of injury always exists.

 If service members follow a few simple steps they can vastly reduce the risk of injury while also increasing performance.

“Knowing how to exercise and train is very important,” said Harriet Fisher, Marine Corps Community Services Semper Fit coordinator.

Every workout should begin with a warm-up and end with a cool-down. A warm-up prepares your body for exercise by gradually increasing your heart rate and loosening your muscles and joints. A cool-down after working out is important to slowly decrease the heart rate back to normal.

Another important step is to stretch.  According to Fisher, its best to stretch after a warm-up and cool-down. Stretching increases flexibility and may reduce the risk of muscle soreness and injury.

Eating a small meal or snack every two to three hours can keep a steady source of fuel for your body keeping you ready for physical exertion. After cooling down, eating a healthy carbohydrate and protein snack can replenish energy stores.

“Nutrition and hydration are very important to keeping healthy and avoiding numerous types of injuries,” said Kathy Williams, MCCS health promotion coordinator.

  When starting a new training or exercise program remember to build on the intensity, duration, and frequency slowly. One way to cool down is to walk for five to 10 minutes after a period of exercise is.

 “Don't push yourself too hard,” said Fisher. “When you repeat the same muscle movements frequently, it can lead to overuse and injuries such as shin splints or tendonitis.”

Take one to two days off a week to rest. Rest days give your body a chance to recover between workouts which helps decrease the risk of injury.

“Knowing your body and its limitations is very important,” said Fisher. “The no pain, no gain philosophy often results in injury.