There is nothing like breaking a personal goal, and then getting injured the next day. Fortunately, there are some healthy practices that you can incorporate into your athletic activity that will help you prevent sports injuries.
1. Warm Up
Warming up is a crucial part of a healty and safe sports practice. Without warming up, your muscles are forced from 0 to 60 mph in a matter of seconds. Not only is it challenging for you to perform your best, but your muscles are under so much stress that they can easily give out, and lead you to injury.
There are specific warm up routines that depend on the type of sport you play. In general, however, you should seek to losen up your muscles with a couple of stretching exercises, and then you should start to pump some power through your body. This can be achieved by doing a couple jumping jacks, push-ups, skips, and even hand stands. The most important thing is to get your muscles literally warmed up.
2. Cool Down
After you finish practicing the sport for the day, it is important that you do not slam on the brakes after going 70mph. This is very unhealthy for your heart and your muscles, and can lead to serious injury if not immediately, then definitely down the road.
Rather than sitting down after a long run or other intense physical activity, it is a good idea to take a little jog then slow your pace down to a walk. Try to keep up with the pace of your body while gradually slowing it down until you feel your heartbeat and your breathing return to normal.
You should follow your initial cool down with some simple but active stretches, like leg or arm swings while standing up.
The body is not made to be active 24/7, or even seven days a week. Just like we have to sleep every night to be functional the next day, we have to rest our muscles so that they can perform. It is a good idea to rest at least one day a week and one entire month a year.
Taking a rest day or month allows your muscles to heal the tiny rips that occur when you work out. This healing makes you stronger, which will make you even better in your sport. Resting also helps with fatigue. When you are tired, you are more prone to injury. If you do not rest, your muscles do not have any time to heal, and when you are in a constant state of stress, your small injuries will pile up to become large ones.
4. Drink Water
Drinking water is a simple way to stay hydrated. It is one of the most important fuels your body needs (aside from oxygen and food). Especially on hot days and when you are sweating a lot, you need to drink water. Heat related injuries can be severe.
5. Wear Proper Equipment
Wearing the appropiate equipment properly is very important in preventing injury. Always wear gear that fits comfortably and snugly. Many physical contact sports require this protective gear, especially because injury can easily happen in spite of it.
6. Pay Attention
If you pay attention to your surroundings, your teammates, what your coaches are telling you, and how you are feeling, you are less likely to get injured. This is because you are aware of what is going on and can be prepared in a moment’s notice to act.
Sports injuries are relatively common, but it is the major injuries that we all want to avoid. By practicing these six simple tips, you can better avoid sports injuries and even improve your game.