WHEATON, IL – Now that the weather is finally getting warmer, many people are taking their workouts outside.

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a serious athlete, sports injuries are inevitable and can sideline your efforts.

WGN News Now spoke to Megan Brash, a certified personal trainer at H4 Training in Wheaton about what you can do to reduce your risk of getting injured.

Brash said prevention is key, “You want to make sure that you’re really getting a good warm up in before you start your workout.” She continued, “Don’t just jump out of bed and go out for that five-mile run. You want to make sure you’re warming your body up properly, warming up the muscles that you’re going to be using for your workout.”

She identified shin splints, back injuries, tennis elbow, golfers’ elbow, and even injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) as some common injuries that surface once workouts are taken outdoors.

Brash recommended people take an extra three to five minutes to stretch because “our bodies aren’t as limber as they used to be, and muscles don’t come back quite the same after a workout.”

She added doing some high knees, toe touches, or windmills along with stretches will help you do your workout more efficiently and effectively in the long run.

After your workout, Brash said it’s important to get some protein in your body to help your muscles recover. She also said to make sure and get in a stretch whether it’s using a foam roller or doing exercises in your living room.

Rest days are also important for preventing injury and Brash recommends you plan at least one to two a week. “A Rest day might not look the same for everybody. It doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything during the day. But you want to be less active. You don’t want to go for a run, but you maybe you go for a walk. You don’t necessarily want to lift weights, but maybe you take a yoga class. So, something like that where your body has the time to recover from the previous day and then gets you ready to have that workout the next day.”

Brash advocated people drink plenty of water before, during and after their workout. She also touted the importance of properly fueling your body and focusing on nutrition. Brash said to limit processed foods, and incorporate whole foods and fresh greens into your diet; and to take advantage of any farmers markets near you.