health

8 Ways To Prevent Sports Injuries

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Getting injured while taking part in a sport is very common. Sports push us to our physical limits – many of us will go beyond what we are capable of just to beat the competition. An injury could have a huge negative impact on your ability to perform your sport as well as affecting day-to-day activities. If you’re training to be a serious athlete, an injury could even be enough to destroy your chances of taking your sport further by forcing you to take time out during your prime. As a result, preventing sports injuries is paramount. Here are just some of the key ways to prevent yourself getting injured.

Stretch

Limbering up will help to keep your muscles and tendons flexible. This can help to give them more movement, which can be important in all sports. Without stretching, your muscles and tendons are more likely to get strained.

You should stretch before and after taking part in exercise. The type of stretches you should do will depend on the sport – leg stretching is important if you plan to do any running, while arm stretches can be important for sports that involve lots of arm movements. This guide at Self offers an example of a few specific stretches that are worth trying.

Warm up

Warming your body up before exercise can also prevent injury. It increases blood flow to muscles, helping them to get more oxygen and nutrients. This prevents muscles straining or tearing.

A warm up routine can be combined with stretching and could include a brisk walk for ten minutes or simply jogging on the spot. The whole point is to get the muscles moving that you’re about to use – just don’t push them to their limits just yet.

Cool down

Cooling down is just as important as warming up for preventing injury. When we exercise, muscles fill with blood which can become trapped in our muscles if we suddenly stop exercising. A slow cool down helps this blood to be released from our muscles, as well as removing waste products like lactic acids. Combined with stretching, this helps to prevent muscles from cramping, while also preventing fainting by keeping blood flowing to your head rather than pooling in muscles.

Cool down exercises simply involve moving the muscles at a slower pace. This could include a gradual walk and moving arms in slow circles. Like a warm up, this should be done for roughly ten minutes.

Wear the right equipment

Equipment can often be used in sports to prevent injuries. The most obvious equipment is the likes of shin guards and gum shields to prevent impact injuries in sports like hockey. However, other equipment may be able to offer added support to prevent overextension or unwanted pressure. This could include elbow braces when playing tennis or golf.

Often, it’s worth investing in high quality equipment to prevent injury both to yourself and others. The likes of these King of Sparring boxing gloves for instance can offer added support for the wrists, which is something you get with a cheap pair of gloves. Some sporting bodies may legally require you to buy a certain grade of equipment as a way of preventing injury.

Learn the correct technique

It’s important to learn the correct technique when doing a sport, not just to improve sporting performance but also to prevent injury. Certain stances for example can prevent you from falling over, while there could also be specific ways of bending such as bending at the knees when picking up a ball rather than bending your back. Make sure that you’re not cutting corner by not learning this technique as it could cost you in the long run.

Keep up the right diet

A good diet may also help to prevent injuries. It can help you to get the right nutrients required for helping your body to repair itself after a workout. Without these nutrients, the body can’t carry out these repairs and a simple sprain could become a long-term injury.

Getting the right amount of calories is important in most sports. Without eating the right amount of calories, muscles can’t repair themselves and may even end up eating themselves. When it comes to specific nutrients, protein, fat and calcium are the most important ingredients. This guide at Triathlete delves deeper into how to alter your diet to prevent injury.

Strengthen the right muscles

Certain sports may use certain muscles more often than others. Strengthening these muscles can help them to not only perform better but can also help them to deal better with the demands of the sport. For instance, when running, strong quads and calves can be important for offering support to joints.

Simply performing the sport may be enough to build these muscles, but in some cases it could be worth exercising outside of these sports to help build extra muscle mass. You can find exercises related to your specific sport online.

Get enough rest

It’s when we rest that our body heals. If you’re not resting, you’re not healing and the slightest muscle ache can become a serious long-term injury.

Training for a sport every day is not advised for this reason – unless you’re focusing on different body parts, try to keep a day of rest between each period of intense exercise so that your body heals. A good night’s sleep is very important as it is when we are asleep that most of the healing takes place. Try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. 

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