4 Easy Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries
Whether you’re an occasional weekend warrior or an every-day athlete, the idea of an injury that keeps you from your routine can be a harrowing thought. While some injuries can be chalked up to bad luck or other circumstances out of your control, there are also steps you can take to help prepare yourself for activity and prevent sports injuries. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can stay out on the field and out of our urgent care center.
The Most Common Sports Injuries
Sprains and strains are the most common injuries suffered by almost any athlete. These injuries occur when you’ve put too much pressure on a muscle or ligament and have caused it to stretch too far out of its normal range, resulting in a sprain, strain or tear. Your body was made to stretch and move in all kinds of ways, but pushing too far can cause a wide range of painful reactions leaving you feeling sore, hurt or otherwise unable to return to action.
Preventing Strains and Sprains
Believe it or not, preventing these kinds of injuries can be easier than it sounds. And if you’re willing to put in the time and energy it takes, you can likely eliminate many common sports injuries. Here are some great ways to get started.
Get Warmed Up
Jumping straight into a sport like hockey or football without getting warmed up seems like an obvious problem, but this applies to other activities too. Even if you’re just going out for a run or hitting the batting cages, get warmed up with some light exercises before you hit full speed. Pushing your body to its limits without a proper warm-up is a surefire way to injure yourself, so make sure to get your blood pumping and break a little sweat before you start pushing yourself.
As we discussed earlier, strains and sprains occur when a ligament or muscle stretches too far out of its normal range. By stretching your muscles regularly before you begin physical activity, you’re preparing your body for the stress you’re about to put it through. The more flexible your muscles are, the less likely they are to stretch out of their comfort zone while you’re shooting hoops or out for a round of golf. And before you stretch, it’s best to follow tip number 1 first. Stretching cold muscles too far is just putting yourself at risk for soreness and injury, so get warmed up with some cardio before you stretch.
Exercise More Often
If you haven’t gotten on the field for more than a year, jumping straight back into action without building up to game day is a bad idea. The same is true if you’re only exercising one a week or once every couple weeks. The less you exercise, the more likely you are to get hurt, so try going for a quick jog or hit the gym as often as possible to keep yourself in shape for more strenuous sports activities.
Quit While You’re Ahead
Whether it’s 4 quarters, 7 sets, 18 holes or any other way to measure the length of a match, you shouldn’t force yourself all the way to the end if you know you’ve got nothing left in the tank. It takes training and routine to withstand a full game of any sport, and playing beyond your point of fatigue is an easy way to over-stress your muscles and cause an injury. When you know you’re too tired to continue, there’s no shame in tapping out, bringing in a sub, or calling it a day.
Staying active and fit is an important part of any healthy lifestyle, but you can’t participate if you injure yourself trying. Keep these tips in mind, and hopefully you’ll avoid some easy-to-prevent injuries.
Photography: Hakan Dahlstrom