10 Tips to Prevent Injuries when Playing Sports
At our physiotherapy clinics, warmer weather unfortunately means an increase in injuries. Every year we see more patients who have suffered a sports related injury while playing outdoors. The warmer weather translates to more outdoor sports which unfortunately means more injuries. According to WebMD, an ankle sprain is the most common sports injury followed by a groin pull. If you’re suffering from any kind of sports injury, or want to find out more about injury prevention, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Today we give you ten tips from our healthcare professionals which will hopefully prevent injuries during physical activities this spring season.
When participating in any sort of physical activity, it’s imperative to take some time off to heal. The majority of injuries are caused by pressure and stress on the affected area therefore rest is a key to injury prevention. Take some time off from your intense exercise routine to let the body heal. Sleep is also important when it comes to repairing damaged cells, therefore rest up to prevent injuries.
Wear the Proper Gear
You may think you look foolish but a mouthpiece goes a long way when it comes to injury prevention. This also applies to helmets, pads, and braces. For example, at our clinics we have custom knee braces which takes weight off heavily impacted areas and applies this weight to unaffected areas. Wearing the right equipment, clothing and accessories will certainly help prevent injuries.
This may sound like a simple one but always drink extra water in the heat. If you’re not properly hydrated during any sort of physical activity then you’re increasing your risk for cramps and strained muscles. Stay hydrated, especially on those extra humid days in an effort to decrease your risk of getting injured.
Stretch, Stretch, and Stretch some more.
Stretching could never be overstated when it comes to injury prevention because it’s all about increasing flexibility. By stretching, you’re getting your muscles warmed up, improving blood circulation and you’re increasing your flexibility. Moving these muscles decreases your chances of getting injured because your muscles are warmed up and ready for physical activities! There is no sudden shock to the body.
Understand Your Limits
Let’s assume you set a goal and you decide that you want to participate in a marathon which is 26.2 miles or 42.2 kms. You shouldn’t try to run 20 miles on your first day of training if you’ve lived a sedentary lifestyle all of your life; this should be a gradual process. Don’t push the body too hard, understand your limits and enjoy the process. It’s not always about the destination, enjoy the journey!
A lot of injuries are caused by weakened muscles which have not been used in a long time therefore one way to prevent injuries would be to build strength. Stronger muscles decreases your chances of getting injured. Work on strength training and remember to focus on all areas of the body, not just the core or the legs.
Follow the Rules
Following the rules is essential to not getting injured. You don’t want to be the one who didn’t listen to the pool rules and ended up diving head first into the shallow pool. Or running on a gravel surface when there was clearly a “proceed with caution” sign posted. Follow the rules, they’re posted for your safety and could prevent gruesome injuries.
Listen to Your Body
A common problem amongst runners is that most runners like to follow a steady pace throughout the entire course of the run, even if their body just isn’t able to keep up. Listen to your body, every day is not the same as the previous day and there will be times that you’ll be able to keep a brisk pace and other times your body will shut off. Listen to your body and you’ll certainly decrease your risk of getting injured.
When playing sports, please warm up. Not only does warming up get your body into right conditioning level however it improves circulation and increases durability. If you’re about to partake in a strenuous activity then be sure to get your body warmed up.
Yes, your diet could help decrease your risk of getting injured. Remember to eat the right foods, maintain a diet with plenty calcium and avoid foods that increase inflammation. A study from the University of Buffalo determined that athletes with the lowest injury risk received 30% of their calories from fat. Remember to eat foods with plenty of healthy fats such as avocados and nuts.
If you’d like to find out more about injury prevention, or recently suffered a sports-related injury and would like to work on injury rehabilitation, please contact us to find a clinic near you. Remember, consultations are free!