Sport is a wonderful way to stay active, embrace your competitiveness, make new friends, improve your physical physique, and so much more. Sports play a central role in American society and culture and are enjoyed by people of all ages.
Injuries are part and parcel of participating in sporting activities. According to the National Safety Council, bicycling accounted for the greatest number of injuries in 2020 (426,000 injuries). Elsewhere, exercise (with or without equipment) accounted for 378,000 injuries, basketball for 214,000 injuries, and football for 122,000 injuries.
Suffering an injury understandably puts great strain on your ability to perform at the highest level. That is why sports injury prevention is so important. Sports injury prevention deals with efforts to try and mitigate injuries to the body’s muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments when participating in a sport.
In this blog post, we will share 7 tips for preventing injuries from sports. These tips will cover the time before, during, and after you participate in a sport and help you to perform at your highest level.
1. Use Proper Technique
Whatever sport you are participating in, there is going to be correct and incorrect technique. For example, there is a specific technique for tackling in football that is not only effective but protects both you and your opponent from unnecessary injury. When in the gym, every exercise has its own technique that, when followed, will allow you to get the most out of the movement and stay safe.
Overexerting yourself during a movement or not following the correct technique greatly increases the risk of sustaining an injury. Always follow the advice and teaching of your coaches and avoid taking risks when it comes to your technique.
2. Wear the Right Gear
Every sport will have its own specific gear or equipment, designed to protect you during participation. For example, footballers wear shoulder pads, helmets, thigh and knee pads, mouthguards, jockstraps, and shoes.
Wearing the correct shoes, in particular, is incredibly important for proper athletic protection. Wearing ill-fitting shoes or shoes without sufficient protection or grip can increase a person’s risk of suffering an injury.
Young athletes should be taught from an early age about the importance of wearing the proper gear and protective equipment when they play a sport.
3. Strengthen Your Muscles
Strength and conditioning exercises can help to reduce the likelihood of injury when participating in a sport. Strength training improves the strength of muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which helps to protect the bones and joints during activity and keep the body in proper alignment.
Every sport has its own specific demands and your strength training should be reflective of this. Even on the football field, different positions require different skill sets. Preparing your body for the specific type of movement you will be performing is key.
4. Focus On Flexibility
Increasing the flexibility of a muscle-tendon unit has been found to decrease an athlete’s risk of suffering and injury and promote better athletic performance. While the nature of the particular sporting activity that you play will determine the need for flexibility, in every instance, flexibility can help to ward off injuries.
Before commencing the rigorous activity, flexibility should form part of your warm-up. Warming up helps the body to prepare for activity by increasing blood flow to the muscles and raising the body’s temperature.
5. Utilize Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is key not only to sports injury rehabilitation but is also the best way to prevent sports injuries in the first place. Physical therapy can be tailored to your sporting needs and goals. It can help to:
- Improve balance and stability
- Teach proper technique
- Work on muscle alignment and strength
- Speed up recovery between sessions
Dynamic Spine & Sport Rehabilitation is here to help you continue to perform at your highest level and reduce your risk of injury.
6. Perform a Proper Cool-Down
Just as a thorough warm-up is essential when performing any rigorous activity, so too is a proper cool-down. A good quality cool-down will help to reduce the build-up of lactic acid, which can build up in our bodies after intense workouts. Lactic acid can result in muscle stiffness and cramp.
Other benefits of a proper cool-down include:
- Regulate your heart rate
- Stress relief and relaxation
- Avoid dizziness
- Reduce risk of injury
The length of a cool-down depends on the type of activity that was performed. Generally, aim to spend at least 5 to 10 minutes slowly bringing your activity level down after rigorous exercise.
7. Listen to Your Body
Finally, always listen to your body. If your body is starting to feel over-exerted or fatigued, it will tell you. You may simply need to take some time off and rest.
This is especially true if you have any niggling injuries. Ignoring these and continuing to push to your athletic limit simply increases the likelihood that you will suffer an injury. Being patient and listening to your body is always the right decision in the long term.
Sports Injury Prevention Tips You Need to Know
The above sports injury prevention tips will help you to avoid the frustrations, pain, and setbacks that come with sports injuries.
Here at Dynamic Spine & Sport Rehabilitation, we are dedicated to restoring your health and ensuring that you are able to perform at your highest level. Whether this means elite-level sport or weekend fun with friends or family, we are 100% committed to your wellbeing.
Request a free consultation with our professional team today. We look forward to speaking with you.