How Do I Prevent Sports Injury?
Playing a sport is a very enjoyable and rewarding activity, that is also great for our health and wellbeing. Regularly participating in a sporting activity can keep your body functioning properly, your muscles strong and help you to maintain your weight. However, if you suffer an injury while playing, it can prevent you from participating for weeks and even months while you heal. In some rare cases, you may even find that it is impossible to play at your previous level of ability following an injury, even after healing has taken place.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help reduce the likelihood of suffering from a sports injury, or even minimizing the damage that does occur if you were to still experience one.
Warm up properly – don’t rush it!
Failing to warm up properly is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to playing sport. Many people do not realise the significance of a warm up, which prepares your muscles for the activity that is to follow. It does this by increasing the flow of blood to the muscles, which enables the muscle fibers to become more flexible. This means that they are better able to absorb the movements associated with your chosen sport without becoming damaged.
A good warm-up should last at least five or ten minutes, beginning very gently and then building to a slightly more intense pace. Walking and jogging are ideal for this. Then once you are sufficiently warm – stretch! By lengthening the muscles and tendons at this point, you are increasing their flexibility even further.
Remember: if you are short on time, it is better to cut your main exercise short than to pinch time off of your warm up or cool down!
Use protective gear – that’s what it is for!
There is a reason that certain sports insist on protective equipment when played at a professional level – there is a real chance you could be injured, and this equipment is specifically designed to prevent that from happening! Some people blow off the idea of protective gear if they are participating informally, but this leaves you vulnerable to all sorts of injuries, particularly if you take part in physical contact sports such as boxing, baseball, soccer and hockey.
It is also important to ensure that you are wearing the correct footwear for your chosen activity. Supporting the ankles can help prevent sprains, which is one of the most common types of sport-related injury.
Perfect your technique
Many sports injuries occur because the patient has not used their best technique. Perfecting your technique can significantly reduce the likelihood of you experiencing an injury. This is particularly true in the case of ball sports, athletics and other activities that involve twisting and extending your body in what are otherwise unnatural positions.
Drink plenty of water
Water is essential to keep our body running properly, and when you over-exert yourself, you need more water than normal to remain healthy. Drinking enough can also help keep your muscles hydrated, which means they are less likely to become damaged.
Cool down properly – and we don’t just mean a shower!
You may be desperate to jump in the shower after all of your physical exertion, but it is essential that you cool down properly before you do. Spend at least five or ten minutes performing a gentle exercise – again, walking or jogging is perfect – to help your heart rate slow naturally. During this time, your body will remove waste products from the muscles and replace them with the oxygen and nutrients needed for your body to recover.