If you’re a sports buff, then you know all too well how much an injury to any of your joints, limbs or muscles may affect your game, your fitness and your overall health. The last thing anyone wants is to be struck down by a sports-related injury. This is why educating yourself on ways in which you can avoid and take preventative measures against sports injuries is so crucial.
In this article, we will look at 6 tips for preventing and managing sports injuries. These simple yet effective tips will ensure that you’ll be able to enjoy your fitness and sports routines without having to succumb to any nasty afflictions. Read on to find out more.
- Warm Ups Are Not Optional
According to the experts at Star Health, one of the biggest contributing factors to sports injury is the lack of sufficient warm-ups. A warm-up is a low-level activity, which should be completed prior to stretching and more strenuous exercise. This is crucial, and is not just an old wive’s tale.
The objective of warming up is to raise your total body and muscle temperature to prepare your entire body for vigorous activity. This will help reduce the chances of muscle soreness post activity, and plays a huge role in preventing you from pulling any muscles. Always remember, warm ups are not optional!
- Know When To Take Time Off
Moderation is key, in all aspects of our lives. When it comes to sports and fitness, it is no different. In order to prevent sports injuries, you need to give your body adequate rest and healing time.
As we work out, we place great strain on our muscles, joints and bones. Not giving your body the time it needs to heal puts you at a much higher risk of being susceptible to injuries. Even electronics and computers need a rest, so always remember to give yourself at least one day a week to recuperate.
- Stay Hydrated
This one may seem obvious, but you will be surprised at how many people don’t remember to stay hydrated both before, during and after sports. Water helps both lubricate your joints and regulate your body temperature.
You can avoid being a victim of heat illness by drinking plenty of fluids (preferably water or hydrating isotonic drinks) before, during and after exercise or play. Another tip is to decrease or stop practices during high heat/humidity periods, such as the 35 degree Summer days.
- Make Sure You Are Dressed Appropriately
Wearing the right gear is extremely important when playing sports. Where appropriate, you should always wear properly fitted protective equipment such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, shin), helmets, face guards, mouth pieces, protective cups, and eyewear. Attention to these small details could mean the difference between suffering a concussion or black eye or not.
- Injury Is Not Just Physical
When referring to sports injury, one’s mind would most likely immediately start thinking about physicality. Whilst a majority of sports-related injury is indeed physical, we must not ignore the mental injury that can occur whilst playing sports. The pressure to win can cause significant emotional stress for many.
Sadly, many coaches and team members consider winning to be the most important aspect of sports. In order to prevent yourself from sports related anxiety, stress and self esteem issues, always remember that the main goal should be to have fun and learn lifelong physical activity skills. It’s not always about winning.
- Avoid Exerting Yourself
There is no point in exerting yourself past your physical capabilities and ending up in hospital or unable to train for the next three weeks. Balance is key, and knowing your limits is very important. Pushing yourself too hard can cause some very serious injuries, and in some instances, even cardiac arrest.
Not exerting yourself is probably one of the most important things that you need to remember when engaging in sports and activities. Always remember that fitness levels increase with practice, so gradually up the ante instead of jumping into deep water if you are looking to reach specific sports goals.
We hope that these 6 tips for preventing and managing sports injuries have been helpful and will assist you in keeping yourself happy and healthy through your sports journey.