Sports performance

How To Avoid A Sports Injury

Whether you play sports for fun or take part in sporting competitions, the last thing you want to happen is to be put out of action by sustaining a sports injury.

While it is almost impossible to avoid every single risk of injury, there is a lot that you can do to help recover more quickly from one – and to come back stronger from it!

Sports injuries can be caused by all sorts of reasons, such as:

  • An accident, such as a fall, collision or being hit by a ball, stick or piece of equipment
  • Failing to warm up properly before playing
  • Pushing yourself too hard while playing
  • Using the wrong equipment
  • Using poor sporting techniques

Obviously, prevention is better than cure when it comes to sports injuries, so let us take a look at some basic preventative measures you can take to help reduce your risk of injury as well as your best possible treatment options to help you recover from one.

Be more than a weekend warrior

We all know that our work, family and social life can take up a lot of our time. This means that there are many people who can only play sports at the weekend. This can often lead to people overdoing it resulting in an injury.

Our expert medical sports injury team at Prime Health have the following advice for those who play sports at the weekend.

  • You cannot expect the sport you play to get you into good shape – instead, you need to train for the sport you play.
  • Follow a well-prescribed exercise programme that is tailored towards the needs of your particular sport.
  • Work with a personal trainer to ensure you get the right balance and frequency of physical conditioning to help your sporting performance.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear, then we strongly suggest that you don’t cut corners that could lead to a preventable injury. Make sure that you wear a mouth guard if needed as well as the right sort of protective pads, gloves and other safety equipment designed for your sport.

5 steps you can take to avoid a sports injury

  1. Always warm up properly
    Make sure that you warm up thoroughly as this is the best way to reduce the chances of sustaining a sports injury. Your warm-up should last between 5-10 minutes and should include plenty of gentle stretches to get your muscles warmed up to prepare them for exercise.

    Be careful to ensure that you start off slowly and gradually build up your activity to a more brisk pace. By taking time to warm up you will be allowing your muscles to get a good flush of blood, making your muscle fibres more flexible and reducing the risks for muscle strains or pulled muscles.

    When stretching during your warm-up aim to stretch those muscles which will be used the most during your exercise.

  2. Use correct sporting techniques
    Most sports that are played today will involve using proper physical movements and techniques that have been designed for maximum performance while minimising the risk of injury.

    Take the time to study your sport and learn the correct techniques used in your particular sport. By following the best techniques possible you will be helping to reduce the risk of causing injuries to muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments.

  3. Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
    It may be tempting to push yourself during your training or while playing your sport. However, over-reaching yourself can cause serious consequences. Remain mindful while training or playing. Listen to your body and be aware of your physical limits.

    The last thing you want to do is to give yourself an injury that will prevent you from playing entirely for a lengthy period of time. It is always better to take things steady and gradually build up your fitness levels, strength and endurance over time to avoid injury and allow you to keep on playing.

  4. Keep hydrated
    Don’t forget your water bottle! You don’t need to drink gallons of water on your training or sporting days, but keeping yourself hydrated with regular sips of water is a good idea, especially when being active on hot or sunny days.
  5. Cooldown carefully
    Cooling down after a long period of physical activity, whether training or playing sport, is just as important as your warm up.

    You should make sure you give yourself enough time to cool down property – spend at least 5-10 minutes cooling down with plenty of low-intensity movements, such as walking to help bring down your heart rate to your normal resting level.

    Your muscles will have produced a lot of waste material while burning the energy needed to fuel your body. Cooling down properly helps your system to remove these waste products from your muscles and allow fresh oxygen and essential nutrients to move into your muscles to aid recovery.

    Don’t forget to include some gentle stretching exercises as part of your cool down. Stretching can help to lengthen your muscles and prevent them from cramping.

Why rest and recovery are so important

Never underestimate the importance of rest and recuperation as part of your sports injury recovery process. Even top athletes understand the importance of taking adequate rest while on the mend from an injury. They know that pushing themselves while injured can actually hamper their recovery and sports performance.

Resting up is also important if you don’t feel 100% healthy. If you are over-tired or are suffering from a virus or sickness bug, then trying to play through your illness can actually increase your risk of sports injuries.

Seek out professional help for sports injury treatments
Should you sustain a sporting injury, then time is of the essence!

Don’t try to limp on and ignore the pain from your injury. Doing so can actually hamper your healing and can negatively affect your future sporting performance if you don’t take the appropriate action as quickly as possible.

In summary, if you have sustained a sporting injury that is causing you pain, or you are looking at ways to prevent injuries happening in the future so not to affect your sporting performance, book an appointment with a specialist sports injury professional.

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