Being active and participating in an exercise program whether it is in a team sport or just working out  at Frothingham Park, is crucial for maintaining health and longevity. Learning to exercise properly using the right technique is also very important in preventing injuries and maintaining one’s ability to stay active later on in life.

Follow the below tips to minimize injury and maximize your workouts.

Cross train
If you run every day, you are likely to experience overuse injuries. You are stressing the same muscles and joints with the same exercise which can contribute to injuries of the knee, ankle or Plantar Fasciitis, very common in runners.

Mix it up. Try a muscle or interval class at a gym nearby, or head to Frothingham Park and do pushups against the benches and bleachers. Swimming is a great option providing a gentle form of exercise. You can return to your favorite exercise the next day.

It is extremely important to stretch after exercising. Tight, overused muscles that are not stretched are sore and more susceptible to injury. Try a yoga class, where not only do you stretch and alleviate muscle fatigue, but you also exercise the mind. Or just use an elastic exercise band to stretch your hamstrings and quads.

Rest between Workouts
If you lift weights or participate in a muscle class, muscles need 24 hours to repair. For best results, participate in weight training every other day to give your muscles a chance to repair and perform at their optimum level and prevent injury.

When your muscles are deprived of water, they become sore and fatigued. Hydrate before, during and after an exercise to replenish water lost through sweat. Long distance runners may want to opt for Gatorade to replace lost electrolytes.

Drink Chocolate Milk or Cherry Juice 
According to the latest research, chocolate milk or cherry juice right after a workout is great for preventing muscle soreness. So why not reach for a glass of chocolate milk or cherry juice after a hard workout.

Wear the Right Workout Sneakers 
Often find yourself running in basketball shoes or wearing running shoes to a Zumba class? Time to purchase shoes suitable for every activity that you participate in regularly to prevent arch, ankle, knee and other injuries. Investing in good sneakers with good padding and support is important.  Don’t let your shoes wear out either which can contribute to more issues. To ensure your shoes are still in good condition, put them on a table and look at the heels, are they worn out? Do they tilt to one side? Then it is time to replace them.

If you do get injured, and the pain does not go away after a few days and cannot be alleviated through home care, be sure to seek medical attention from your primary physician early before an acute injury becomes chronic.

Roula Lombardi is a fitness instructor certified by the American Council on Exercise for more than 20 years.