One way of staying fit and healthy is by engaging in sports. Professional athletes who undergo training are the ones most susceptible to sports injuries, although anyone can suffer from injuries while doing some sports activities. These injuries can be brought about by a few factors, such as not warming up adequately before starting a strenuous activity and improper use of equipment. While the risk of having them cannot be totally eliminated, it can be reduced.
Here are some tips to avoiding sports injuries:
1. Proper warm-up
Having proper warm-up when participating in sports is essential in reducing the risk of injury. It should last at least five to ten minutes. Gently stretching and exercising the muscles prepare them for the strenuous activity that comes after. Start with a slow warm-up and gradually move to a more energetic pace. This increases blood flow to the muscles, which then enhances flexibility of the muscle fibres and lowers the risk of straining a muscle. Steady walking and jogging are excellent examples of warm-up exercises as they allow you to slowly intensify your pace, preparing your body for strenuous exercise. To further prevent injury, you can gently stretch to lengthen the muscles and tendons. Focus on the muscles that will be used during the exercise.
2. Use of appropriate protective equipment
To protect those who engage in certain sporting activities, protective equipment is required. It may include pads, guards, straps, protective eyewear, and protective footwear.
- Pads, guards, and straps:
- Protective Eyewear:
- Protective Footwear:
These are worn to lower the likelihood of injury to the shoulders, chest, elbows, arms, wrists, hip, thighs, knees, shins, and ankles. Knee pads prevent injury to cartilage and the knee joint; shoulder pads, on the other hand, provide support to the shoulder joint, reducing the risk of sprains and fractures. Moreover, guards come in different materials, from hard plastic to soft padding, ones choice of which is primarily dependent on the type of sport and expected injuries.
For any type of lifting, consider wrist wraps.
It may come in sunglasses specifically designed for skiers or snowboarders, such as 3-mm polycarbonate lenses with ultraviolet filter, protecting the eyes from radiation and impact. Sports goggles, on the other hand, are recommended for those who play tennis and other racquet sports.
Wearing correct footwear is essential when participating in sports; this helps prevent injury by providing support to the foot and ankle. Running shoes, for instance, are designed for optimised pronation and lower the overuse of the feet and ankle joint.
3. Use of Correct Techniques
It is vital that you learn the correct techniques associated with a sport you engage in. This can significantly minimise your likelihood of suffering from bone, muscle, and tendon injuries. This also applies when you go the the gym; experts will be on hand to assist you in using gym equipment safely and effectively.
4. Avoiding overreaching yourself
Being aware of your physical limits is vital when participating in physical activities. Listen to your body. When taking on a new sport, start slowly, preventing your muscles from getting strained. Gradually build up your stamina and strength. Over time, your fitness will increase, allowing you to take on a physical activity for longer periods of time.
5. Staying hydrated
The body needs water to keep going. It becomes more important when you are doing physical activities, especially when they are done in heat or in sunny weather. Dehydration can negatively affect mental and physical fitness, so keeping your body hydrated cannot be overemphasised.
6. Cooling Down
Cooling down after physical activity if as important as warming up. For at least five to ten minutes, have some gentle form of exercise such as walking. This allows your heart rate to go back to a normal pace and your body to get rid of the muscles waste products, which will then be replaced with oxygen and nutrients. Doing some gentle exercises are also important as this lengthens the muscles you have been using during physical activity. This way, your muscles do not become bulky as they increase in strength and size.
To sum up, sports-related injuries can be minimised, if not totally eliminated. This can be done by taking some preventive measures, such as warming up, using appropriate equipment, using correct techniques, not overreaching yourself, staying hydrated, and cooling down.