If you are an athlete, there is a good chance that you have experienced your fair share of sports-related injuries. While all sports have some inherent injury risk, there are things that you can do to mitigate the risk of getting hurt while doing what you love. Here are six ways that you can help to prevent injuries related to sports.
Use the Right Gear and Protective Equipment
The first step in protecting yourself from injury when participating in athletics is to choose the right gear and equipment. What you wear and use is dependent on the sport. All protective equipment such as helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, and eyewear should be appropriately fitted to ensure maximum protection. Wearing the proper footwear is also important. Not wearing proper sneakers can result in foot injuries, especially when running.
It is also essential not to rely solely on protective equipment to guard against injuries. Athletes still need to take responsibility for how they take care of their bodies.
Understand Common Symptoms and Respond Accordingly
Another good way to protect yourself when competing is to empower yourself with the information needed to recognize some of the most common symptoms of injuries. Recognizing when you may be hurt will help you to make the best decisions regarding the next steps.
If you do sustain a sports injury, make sure you receive adequate rehabilitation before resuming strenuous activity. For example, if you are suffering from spondylolisthesis symptoms, you will want to see a medical professional address the issue as soon as possible. It may be that you need a non-surgical treatment such as physical therapy or epidural steroid injections.
Take Time to Rest
While it may be tempting to push through the minor aches and pains, you should always take adequate time to rest. Even if you are not dealing with any nagging injuries, taking at least one day per week off from activity will give your body the time that it needs to heal and recover from strenuous activity.
If you engage in one sport year-round, you should be intentional about taking at least a few weeks off completely each year. Not only will this provide a much-needed reset for your body, but it will also give you a mental boost.
Do not discount the power of proper hydration in keeping you healthy and free of injuries. Staying hydrated will provide many benefits, including supporting muscle function. The right amount of hydration will also help regulate blood pressure so that the heart does not have to work as hard to support healthy blood pressure levels.
Drinking enough water before your sweat session will improve circulation in the body, ensuring maximum delivery of oxygen to working hard muscles. All of these functions will work together to limit injuries. Make sure to rehydrate with electrolytes if doing strenuous exercise to avoid dehydration.
Learn the Proper Techniques and Follow the Rules
You will reduce your risk of injury if you learn the proper techniques for your sport and follow all the rules. This is especially important for contact sports such as football or wrestling. Not understanding the right techniques will put your body at a greater risk of getting hurt.
Additionally, it would be best if you were committed to following the rules of the game. Remember to follow the rules. Choosing to ignore these regulations could put your body at risk.
Warm-Up and Cool Down
A solid warm-up and cool-down routine can also have a significant effect on your chances of getting injured. Making the time to engage in these exercises before and after your competition or practice will go a long way in preventing injury.
Stretching exercises work to boost the ability of the body’s muscles to contract and perform, lowering the risk of injury in the process. Many are familiar with static stretching, which is when you stretch out the muscle and hold it for 20 seconds. This is recommended for a great cool-down routine. However, it is best to do dynamic stretching to warm up your muscles, which will loosen your muscles and joints before your workout or the big game.
If you adopt these practices daily, you will significantly reduce your risk of injury and avoid being stuck on the bench. Although you can never mitigate the risk of injury completely, the right gear, proper practices, and information will go a long way in keeping you healthy.