Sports and Exercise: How to Stay Injury-Free
Whenever you play sport or take part in an exercise activity you are at risk of injury. But you shouldn’t let that stop you from enjoying your game – learn how to prevent injury and have a better experience. You may not be able to avoid every injury but you can put these strategies in place to prevent many from occurring.
- Prepare: make sure you are fit and healthy, and ready for the demands of the activity. If necessary, have a medical exam before you start a new sport or fitness regime.
- Warm up: always make sure you warm up properly before you start playing.
- Stretch: your warm up should include stretches that target the muscles you will be using in your sport. Make sure you stretch carefully so you don’t put too much pressure on your knees.
- Start slow: increase the intensity of your exercise gradually so your body gets used to the new demands.
- Shoes: choose shoes that are appropriate for your activity, fit, and offer good shock absorption and cushioning.
- Gear: if you need safety gear to play, use it. Find out what you need and choose good quality items that fit you right.
- Clothes: wear the right clothes for sport or training and make sure they won’t cause you to overheat or affect your performance.
- Good form: use the right techniques in the right way to avoid injury. Learn how to properly play your sport in order to minimize stress and strain.
- Surface: make sure your playing surface is free from debris. When running, choose softer surfaces and make sure you limit running on concrete.
- Know your limits: if you feel pain, stop. Assess your injury or discomfort and if you need to sit it out, take the time to recover.
- Rest: let your body recover from training sessions of play by building rest days into your schedule or cross training to vary the muscles you are using.
- Cool down: follow the reverse warm up procedure – gently bring down the level of activity so your heart rate returns to normal, then stretch.
- Stop: don’t exercise if you feel ill or you have an injury.
- Advice: ask an expert if you have pain when you exercise or if an old injury comes back to affect your game. If you get injured, have the injury professionally assessed so you don’t risk suffering from chronic pain.