Two cardinal rules of working out -- warming up and stretching before exercise, and stretching and cooling down afterwards -- help protect you against muscle strain. There are additional practices that can help prevent muscle strain or, at the very least, minimize the extent of an exercise-related injury. And these measures have many other health benefits in their own right.

  • Eat a balanced diet. Well-nourished muscles perform better and recover more quickly from injury.
  • Strength train. It's a misconception that people who focus on cardio exercise (e.g., runners) don't need to work out with weights. Strength training enhances exercise performance and muscle resilience.
  • Stretch muscles during the day. Taking 5- to 10-minute "stretching breaks" can help make muscles supple and improve your joints' range of motion.