Tips to avoid injuries playing sports
Everyone knows sport is great for both body and mind, but most sports carry at least some inherent risk of injury. From relatively extreme activities like snowboarding or BMX right down to more relaxed activities like swimming, we put our bodies under strain in pretty much every sporting activity and injuries can occur.
The old saying, “Prevention is the best cure”, is especially applicable to sport and there are many measures you can take that will help reduce your chances of injury. Of course, most sporting injuries are relatively minor. However, in more serious cases, you may put yourself at risk of life-changing injury. For example, a bad fall or impact could cause spinal cord injury that could end up requiring specialist treatment at a stem cell clinic.
Rather than taking the risk, think about following these tips:
Make sure you use the right equipment: In some sports, padding and protective gear are a pre-requisite (e.g. football). However, in many others wearing protection is very much down to personal choice. Take a sensible look at the sport you’re doing and think about whether protection would be a good idea. In sports like cycling, where you’re traveling at speed, it should be a no-brainer to wear a helmet and perhaps some form of knee or elbow protection (particularly for younger kids) – but also think about other sports where you might suffer an impact fall. Padding will greatly reduce your chances of injury.
Get more flexible: A huge number of sporting injuries are caused by sprains and strains – often due to issues with flexibility. When we do sports, we move our bodies in ways that we simply don’t do in everyday life so to help prevent injuries you should include stretching into your exercise routine.
Strengthen muscles: Stronger muscles reduce the chances of falls, sprains and strains so you should look at building muscle mass as part of your overall workout routine. If you attend a gym, it’s also a good idea to ask your trainer to devise a series of exercises that are specific to your sport that will help you perform better.
Never ignore pain: You should never just continue playing through pain as doing so will likely result in much more severe injury.
Remember to take time off: Sure, some sports can be incredibly addictive but your body still needs time to recuperate. You should take at least one day off from sports and exercise a week to give your body the time it needs to recover. Also, over-training can often make you jaded so take some time out.
Keep well hydrated: It should be a given to ingest sufficient fluids but it’s surprisingly common just how many sportsmen and women fail to drink enough water to keep themselves adequately hydrated. When we do sport, our bodies can lose a tremendous amount of liquid through the natural sweating process so ensure you drink enough fluids to make up for the loss. This is particularly true in hotter climates where the body will sweat even more.