By Diana Smith Contributing Author, fitness and alternative medicine expert
We all know that exercise is good for us and that we should all enjoy at least half an hour of moderate exercise every day, with a longer workout session a couple of times per week. But while exercise is healthy, Sports injuries that often accompany it are not. And if you exercise regularly and give it your all, you have to take certain precautions to make sure you don’t get injured.
How to Avoid the Most Common Sports Injuries
Always warm up
Our bodies aren’t ready to spring into action from the moment we wake up. Warming up the muscles and tendons before you start working out will make sure that your body is prepared to be put through tougher exercise. Warming up should start slow. Go top-to-bottom and start by warming up your neck, shoulders, torso, hips, knees and ankles. Focus on moving your joints and your muscles will get warmed up in the process. You can also warm yourself up by doing some light cardio like running, cycling or doing some jumps. Make sure you are warming up inside and out. It’s perfectly fine to start out in a sweatshirt or any few layers of clothing, and take them off as you feel like you are warming up.
Work with a coach
Unless you’re a professional, you probably don’t know all the science that goes into crafting an exercise routine. And if you are attempting to do something that you’ve just seen being done without anyone explaining it to you beforehand, you risk serious injury. The small details like what muscles you need to tighten up and which ones you shouldn’t by any means utilize at a certain time can make all the difference between doing healthy exercise and damaging your body, potentially for life. Hiring a personal trainer can be expensive, so try to get into small groups, where the trainer has enough time to focus on each of you, but you split the cost.
Wear protective gear
A lot of sports inherently carry the risk of injury, and this especially goes for martial arts or any kind of sparring. Wearing a good wrestling mouth guard, a helmet, gloves and any body protection your sport requires is a must for safe practicing, or you might found yourself without a few teeth if you’re lucky or with a concussion if you’re not. Sports that put your body in positions where you can fall, like motorbiking, stunt cycling, skateboarding and other similar ones also require that you are in full gear, so don’t feel silly about wearing a helmet and protect your body.
Let injuries heal
Despite all the precautions, accidents still happen. You will get hurt and your body will need time to heal. Forcing your body through injury is something a lot of athletes do, in fear of falling behind their routine. But straining your body when it’s damaged will only prolong your injury and you risk making the injury permanent. Visit a doctor who specializes in sports injuries and listen to their advice. If you want to stay in the loop, ask to sit in on practices and just follow what others are doing. It might be hard to stop practicing, especially if it’s something that is part of your daily routine, but if you don’t – you’re only making it worse. Don’t do that to yourself.
Injuries need to be taken more seriously by both athletes and coaches. The “just walk it off” method is ineffective and can seriously damage your body. Do everything you can to protect yourself from injury, and if it does happen, let it heal. Your body will thank you.
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