Regardless of whether you are just starting out with a new physical activity, or whether you have been engaging in sports for a long time, you really want to stay away from injury. Age is not on our side as we are more prone to injury as we get older. We become less agile and we lose some of our former bone and muscle mass.
Sports related injuries like sprains, muscle strains, tendinitis, ACL and meniscus tears of the knee, rotator cuff tears are some of the most common.
Read some tips on how it is possible to prevent sports injuries before they happen.
- PICK AN APPROPRIATE ACTIVITY
High-impact activities programs aren’t ideal If you are a women suffering from conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis, high-impact programs will not be ideal. Swimming or using a low impact exercise machine, will be effective without stressing your joints.
- TECHNIQUE IS KEY
It is always advised to work with a trainer or gym consultant to establish the correct way to do your activity before you start. If you have an injury already, you cannot risk worsening it by using te wrong techniques whilst doing the activity. Your workout must suit your health and physical capabilities.
- START SLOWLY
A gradual increase in frequency, speed and intensity will allow you to build strength as and when you are ready. You are at risk of injury if you make a sudden change to your program or suddenly change your activity.
- WARM YOUR MUSCLES
You will improve blood flow to the muscles that need it and decrease stiffness if you warm up before commencing with your activity. Cold muscles are more injury prone. A proper warm-up must be active like a walk or stretches for at least 5 minutes. You should avoid passive seated of static position stretching as this could actually do the opposite and lead to muscle tears.
- KEEP HYDRATED
You lose essential fluids your body needs, when you work out. Drinking water before you exercise, and also taking a few sips of water every 15 minutes throughout your routine is important.
- EXERCISE KIT MUST BE APPROPRIATE
Comfortable lose fitting exercise kit will allow you to move and breathe. Your shoes should be robust, but comfortable providing good arch support and a softened heel to absorb shock.
- BE KIND TO YOUR BODY
Contrary to many athletes opinion, you should not continue if you are in pain. If an activity hurts, you should stop. Pushing through pain caused by an injury can prolong your healing time which will mean you won’t be able to exercise anyway. It is imperative to seek medical advice if your pain does not seem normal.
- VARIETY IS KEY
Even if you love jogging, alternate it with other exercise, like yoga, dancing, tennis, swimming. In this way you will work on different muscle groups, as well as give your body a chance to recover between activities.
Sports injuries left untreated can become problematic, so it is important to know when to seek help.
Contact Dr Peter Smith, an Orthopaedic Surgeon operating from the Mediclinic Milnerton in Cape Town, to treat your sports related injuries.