After a stressful day at the office or at home, many of us find that a trip to the gym or indulging in a sport of choice helps us escape the worries of everyday living. There are over 600 muscles in the human body. However, someone who spends their day sitting in front of a computer for example might only use 40% of those muscles during that time. Hence the importance of incorporating some form of exercise into our daily routine and whilst exercise is a wonderful thing we do have to take care.
The following tips may help to avoid sports injuries -
1. Avoid a cold start. In order to reduce the risk of injury and allow you to give your best performance, do some stretching exercises beforehand to get your muscles warmed up and ready for action. When muscles are warmed up they are less prone to injury. Depending on your activity, you may also need to do a mental rehearsal beforehand. If you have a history of injury or have had a precious injury to a joint or muscle, it is vital to warm up prior to exercise to prevent such injuries becoming chronic problems.
2. Ambition can spur you on but can also increase risk of injury. Be realistic about your capabilities. Being too ambitious and not knowing your limits can result in too much pressure being put on your locomotor system. If you take on some form of strenuous exercise that you have not been unaccustomed to, there is the danger that you might do more harm than good. If you experience pain when exercising or doing sport, stop at once. It is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong and should not be ignored.
3. Stay safe. Wearing the correct protective gear for your particular sport e.g. helmet, gloves, sunglasses, knee and elbow pads and shock absorbing sports shoes. Make sure the equipment is properly fitted and worn correctly and consistently to help prevent unnecessary injury.
4. Regular breaks. Taking a break at regular intervals can also help prevent your body becoming overtaxed. Rest is an important component of proper training and can make you stronger. Insufficient rest can result in fatigue and poor judgement. Recovery days give muscles the chance to repair between training sessions.
5. Correct technique. Whichever sport you choose to do, make sure you are using the correct technique. Whether it’s badminton or swimming it’s always best to have some instruction at the very start otherwise you run the risk of unnecessary injuries.
6. Stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to poor concentration and a higher risk of injury. It also affects performance abilities. Be sure to drink plenty of water to replenish what your body loses in sweat. Keep a water bottle to hand and drink from it at regular intervals.
7. Consult your doctor. Patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, migraine or other long term illnesses should check with their doctor as to what sports would be most beneficial to their health and which should be avoided.
8. When to avoid sport. It is best to avoid any sporting activities if you are suffering from a fever, tiredness or a heavy cold. It’s also unwise to attempt any any form of exercise or sport if you are under the influence of alcohol.
9. Avoid taking risks. In the case of outdoor sports, gauge your pace according to the weather conditions and also to the time of day. More care needs to be taken during bad weather conditions such as rain and ice and also when lighting conditions are not good, wear suitable reflective equipment.
10. Be prepared. It’s worth keeping a tube of arnica gel to hand should you have the misfortune to suffer sprained or strained joints or other tissue injuries whilst training. Arnica has been recognised as a medicinal plant since the 16th century and is a popular remedy for bruising. In the form of a gel it is convenient and easy to apply.