Whether you play sport simply for fun or do so competitively, sporting injuries can prevent you from playing for weeks or even months and, as such, need to be avoided at all costs. The question is, however, what can you do to at least reduce the chances of enduring an injury whilst playing sport? We’ve taken a look below at five top tips for avoiding sporting injuries to help you prepare a little better:
1. Be Sure To Warm Up
Always make sure you warm up prior to playing any form of exercise. By properly warming up, you’re preparing your body for the intense activity to come, warming up your muscles and ultimately helping to avoid injury. Common benefits of warming up include increased blood flow and oxygen to your muscles, increased flexibility through stretching and increased relaxation and concentration.
Whether you jog, stretch or carry out some very light resistance work, what’s important is that you warm up prior to participating in any sport, however you should look to carry out at least 15 minutes worth of warm up and do so until you start to break a sweat but not until you feel tired.
2. Know Your Limit. Don’t Push Yourself
Whilst more important when you’re starting out in a new sport or form of exercise; knowing your limit is absolutely vital. Don’t be tempted to push yourself too hard as that is ultimately when injuries will happen. Your body will tell you when it’s had enough and it’s important to listen to it and stop before you do yourself some damage.
Whilst there’s a big difference between feeling a little tired and feeling absolutely exhausted, you need to understand that difference and stop before you’ve pushed yourself too hard. If you’re not use to playing sport, start out gradually and build up slowly.
3. Wear The Correct Kit
From athletic supports through to properly fitting and cushioned running shoes, ensuring you wear the correct kit whilst participating in your chosen sport is of uttermost importance. This may mean a certain level of investment, however without having the correct kit, you’re more likely to be prone to injuries as a result of it. Our top advice here is to visit a specialist sports shop who are able to not only provide you with the gear you need but also ensure it’s properly fitting, something else which can lead to injury when overlooked.
4. Cool Down Afterwards
Just as it’s advisable that you warm up prior to participating in a sport, it’s also important to remember to cool down afterwards to aid recovery and help to prevent injury. You should spend anywhere between five and fifteen minutes following exercise cooling down by carrying out light activity in the form of walking or stretching. Cooling down helps your heart rate to return to normal gradually, helps avoid dizziness which can see blood pooling in large muscles and helps to remove waste products from muscles (such as lactic acid).
5. Take Rest Day
Don’t be tempted to exercise every day. Your body needs to rest and, as such, you need to ensure you take rest days. Whilst there’s frequent debates as to how often you should take a rest day, it’s generally accepted that you should take at least one for every two or three days in which you exercise, suggesting that you should aim for two rest days each week. Of course, a rest day doesn’t necessarily have to mean a complete rest, however, and many will opt to participate in yoga or similar on their ‘day off.’