Injuries and sports frequently seem to go hand-in-hand. However, this doesn’t need to be the case if you adhere to correct training protocols and take some simple precautions.
Follow these six steps to prevent injuries so you can stay in the game:
We all know the importance of warming up before exercising. However, that doesn’t stop us from often overlooking it. Warming up is not only about the health, but also about reaching maximum performance.
A warm up should prepare your body (and mind) for your main exercise activity by gradually raising the heartbeat, warming the muscles and connective tissues, improving mobility and functionality of all body movement.
It is important to follow this first step because during a warm up, you’ll be able to recognize any injury or illness and help prevent it from getting worst.
Maintaining and developing flexibility is extremely important for injury prevention. It improves muscle balance around a joint, thus improving posture, and it increases the blood and nutrient supply to muscles and cartilage.
Keep in mind that poor flexibility is the one of the primary causes of muscle and tendon strains. A full body stretch can be done in as little as 10 minutes!
Wear appropriate protective gear and equipment
Always protect yourself! Modern technology has made significant advances in injury prevention. However, it’s up to you to take full advantage of sports gear, such as protective pads, mouth guards, helmets, gloves and other equipment that can save you from really painful injuries.
Try to always use the right footwear when exercising or playing sports; your likelihood of injury is significantly reduced.
Trying to achieve too much, too soon will inevitably result in injury because your body needs time to adapt to increased training loads or the demands of a sport. Rest is a critical component of physical activity; it can actually make you stronger and prevent injuries of overuse, fatigue and poor judgment.
Drinking enough water is essential to keep the body going, and this is especially true when you are active and exercising. If you are exercising in heat or in sunny weather, it is especially important to keep your body hydrated as dehydration can significantly reduce mental and physical fitness.
Just as it is important to warm up properly, it is also essential that you cool down sufficiently after physical activity. After your work out, spend at least 5-10 minutes undertaking a gentle form of exercise (such as walking) to return your heart rate to a normal pace. The cool down process allows your body to remove the muscles’ waste products and replace with oxygen and nutrients. This helps to prevent stiffness of the muscles after exercising, and allows your muscles to recover steadily from physical activity.
At this stage you may also wish to do some gentle stretching exercises to lengthen the muscles which you have been using during physical activity. This can prevent muscles becoming bulky as they increase in strength and size.
By following these six simple tips to avoid sports injuries, you’ll be able to spend more time as a sports participant and less as an injured onlooker.