A Commonsense Guide To Injury Prevention For Athletes
When you’re training to reach your personal peak or to compete, an injury can really throw a wrench in things. We know how hard it can be to take a break because of injury, when your goals are in sight – that’s why injury prevention is so critical to athletes.
Is it really possible to prevent injury?
Absolutely it is. While there can always be unexpected causes of injuries, the goal is to prepare appropriately, treat your body well and avoid unnecessary injuries. Without the proper caution, injuries caused by overexertion, trauma, and repetitive stress can be much more common.
In fact, a study recently showed that 62% of organized sports-related injuries occur during practice. This is likely because it’s taken less seriously than a weighted game, when competing.
Today, we’ll run through some of the ways that you can avoid injury.
Preparation Before Your Game, Sport, or Training
Whether you’re a runner, or you’re playing football, following these steps is crucial.
The gear that is appropriate for your sport is designed with purpose – whether it’s shin pads, helmets and shoulder pads, or cushioned running shoes. It may not seem important to ensure that you have the proper footwear or to check helmets for damage or wear and tear, but without the proper and safe equipment, injury can be a much higher risk for you.
WARM-UP AND STRETCHING
Before you get out on the field, or hit the track, make sure to warm-up and mobilize your body. We know you want to get out there and play, but you should take five to ten minutes to increase body temperature by doing simple movements like jumping jacks, butt kicks, and arm circles. Once you are warm and just shy of your first sweat, do some stretches.
This promotes mobility and flexibility during sport so your body can better respond to something that otherwise could be injury causing.
ENSURE PREVIOUS INJURIES ARE HEALED
This one should be a given, but you’d be surprised. Many athletes can’t wait to get back on their feet, and so they will push their bodies even before they’re fully healed. Take the time to get the proper guidance, therapy, and training before returning to sport following an injury.
During The Game or Sport
When you’re 20 minutes deep in the game, you might not be thinking about ensuring an injury doesn’t take place – but it’s critical to be aware of potential injury. This advice may help:
This might seem obvious, but we see athletes all the time that do not hydrate well prior to, during, and after sport and training. Hydration does more than just feel good when you’ve been engaged in sport or training – it regulates body temperature, energizes your muscles, lubricates your joints, and can even expedite muscle recovery.
Taking short breaks allows your body a chance to recover, and prevents overtraining. To provide energy when training, the body will break down creatine – and without taking breaks, you’ll tap out. The body can replenish its creatine supply within three to four minutes, meaning that three to five minute breaks can actually help you come back stronger.
DO NOT PLAY THROUGH PAIN
We’ve all been there – you want to push yourself to PR, or you only have 6 minutes left in the period. But if you’re experiencing pain then it’s necessary to stop – pushing through pain can cause greater damage, even potentially risking long term problem.
After The Game or Sport
Remember, once the game is over, or the finish line is behind you – you aren’t done. Don’t forget injury prevention after completion.
Allowing your body and muscles to ‘cool down’ is one of the most important parts of a work out. It allows for a gradual recovery to pre-exercise heart rate and blood pressure, helping to regulate blood flow.
We know that being injured is a pain literally and emotionally. It’s hard to sit out when you really want to be in the game. That’s why it’s so important to incorporate mindfulness for injury prevention into your training. Your likelihood of injury may drop if you incorporate this advice into your training and preparation.
Wherever you are in your athletic journey, you are likely pushing your body to peak performance, during sport and training. See just how much you can do with our care, programming, and state of the art technology. Schedule a free phone consultation today.