Many people are looking to start a new workout routine now that fitness centers and gyms across the U.S. are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. But without professional trainers and in-person classes, many of us don’t have someone there to help correct our form to prevent injury.

Proper form and technique is absolutely crucial. About 3 million people visit urgent care centers in any given week due to workout injuries and other ailments. To help prevent muscle tears, joint pain, and other workout-related injuries, here’s how you can help flatten the curve while getting your workout on safely.

Avoid doing exercises that are brand new

It’s understandable to want to give yoga and pilates a try when stay-at-home orders in place. But make sure that you’re not doing any activities that are completely outside your wheelhouse. For instance, now isn’t the time to try intense weight lifting if you’ve never done it before.

If you’re trying out some new moves, make sure to pay attention to your posture and form. Practice your moves before jumping right into any new techniques. Watch videos online to get a better understanding of what the correct form is in the exercise that you’re trying.

Remember to warm up

Warming up is essential whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned athlete. Even if your workout routine is familiar to you, warming up is essential. Stretching and warming up allows your muscles to loosen up. This reduces your risk of tearing your muscles or overstretching.

Wear the proper footwear

Don’t assume that what you have on your feet doesn’t matter just because you’re in the comfort of your own home. You want to be wearing footwear that has a good grip so you can easily move back and forth on different surfaces. 

Workout out in bare feet or socks on a surface that needs traction can cause you to slip and fall. Up to 22% of slip and fall incidents leave people out of work and recovering for over a month. That said, make sure that you’re wearing sneakers when you work out to give yourself the proper footing.

Don’t overdo it

You might feel like you need to work harder because you’re spending more time indoors. But it’s important not to overwork yourself with physical activity. Putting too much stress on your muscles and working out too much can actually do more harm than good.

Take a rest day inbetween days of vigorous physical activity to give your muscles time to rest and recuperate. Excess exercising can cause your muscles to wear down and tear. Remember to take care of yourself and to monitor how you’re feeling.

What do I do if I get injured at home?

If you do experience an injury while working out, there are a few things you can do to take care of yourself. First, rest your injury and give yourself time to heal. Apply ice to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. This will help to reduce any swelling and inflammation.

To help reduce swelling even more, keep your injury elevated and use a gentle compression bandage. Use an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory to reduce any pain and inflammation. 

If your swelling doesn’t go down, your pain increases, or your injury begins to change color, seek medical assistance at your local urgent care center or with your primary care physician. Your PCP might recommend physical therapy, which can cut down medical costs by 72%, to help treat your injury without surgery.

While it’s good to get in physical activity while you’re stuck at home right now, it’s also important to take good care of your body while you’re working out. Warm up properly, watch your form, use the correct techniques, and remember to rest to help avoid injury.