Whether you play basketball or you swim, you must be extra careful to avoid sports-related injuries. Possibly the most common cause of injury in any sport is the failure to warm up sufficiently before the actual event. The body needs ample time to adjust and prepare for a strenuous activity and not being able to do so could be very devastating to an athlete. And aside from engaging in warm up exercises, here are four more ways to avoid sports-related injuries.
- Warm up before and cool down after
One thing that my sports injury physio keeps drilling into me, is the importants of warm up and cool down. Warm up exercises will reduce the likelihood of injury and these should be at least 5 to 10 minutes long. The most common warm-up activities include stretching which is gently exercising the muscle group that will be used for the activity. Other types of warm up exercises include jogging or walking and breathing exercises.
Cooling down is basically the same as warming up. You can also stretch and walk slowly before you completely retire. And just like warming up, you must also engage in cool down exercises at least 5 to 10 minutes.
- Use the prescribed protective equipment
Sports that require physical contact with an opponent such as martial arts and football have regulation-prescribed equipment while there is also recommended safety equipment for non-contact sports as well. Use quality prescribed safety equipment only.
Helmets and headgear are important when driving, cycling or even in contact sports where a blow to the head is very likely to happen. Wearing protective shoes will for jogging, dancing and track and field will protect your foot, ankle and leg from injuries. Still, some kinds of sports have specialised protective gear; a mouthpiece is used for boxing, martial arts and other contact sports, goggles and ear pieces are used for swimming, diving and other water sports. Special padding for vulnerable parts of the body like the elbows, knees, shoulders and chin are also worn in cycling, martial arts, football and in many contact sports. If you are unsure as to what type of protective gear you need to use, consult a specialist or a trainer to get the latest information.
- Do not overdo yourself
Plan your routines and training really well, listen to your body and know your own physical limitations. In mastering a new routine or activity, start slowly and surely to avoid injuries. Create a training plan and take tips from experts. You may also hire a personal trainer to help you safely train for a particular sport or a sporting event.
If you are training for a new routine, take the time to learn about safety techniques and all the important pointers about the sport before you start training to avoid any kind of injury.
- Remain hydrated especially when you engage in outdoor sports
You must always keep your body hydrated when you exercise or indulge in sports, especially outdoor sports. Dehydration can significantly reduce a person’s physical abilities and could also affect your coordination and concentration. Bring a bottle of cold drinking water every time. Aside from water, sports drinks may also suffice. These are loaded with electrolytes that the body needs to keep hydrated and reduce injuries to the different organs and tissues.
Almost ¾ of the body is composed of water and most of the water is lost during exercise as sweat. Replenishing lost fluids by drinking enough water is therefore very essential when you engage in any kind of sports.
- Use correct technique
There are some sports that have a special technique to reduce injury. For instance, weightlifting is not just about being strong and fit but it is also about using techniques to safely lift and bring the weights down. Another sport that has a rulebook on safety is basketball. This popular sport is not just about being a good shooter but also knowing how to move around the court and safely engaging with your opponents. Even a simple activity such as jogging or walking has a special technique that reduces injury.
Safety must be your number one priority no matter what kind of sport you indulge in. if you make safety a habit, you will be able to completely avoid any type of injury.