All sports involve a risk of injury. But for most people, the benefits of participating in different sports outweigh the risks.
Generally, the more contact involved in a sport, the higher the risk gets for a traumatic injury. But most injuries experienced by athletes today are due to overuse. Common types of sports injuries are strains, sprains, and stress fractures.
Injuries happen when excessive stress is placed on joints, tendons, muscle, and bones. Whether you are playing sports for fitness or for competition, you do not want to be injured. Forced inactivity or not playing your favorite game is something that you want to avoid.
Although it is quite impossible to eliminate injuries, injury rates can be reduced significantly if you take the right preventative actions. Here are general rules for preventing injuries, regardless of what sport you play.
1. Properly Condition Your Body
When playing any sport, you must train adequately before the actual game. Don’t expect the sport itself to get you in good shape. Following a regular conditioning program of exercises that are meant specifically for your sport is crucial to prevent injuries.
Interval training, for instance, is important as it abides by the principle of adaptation. It can lead to many physiological changes, which include an increase in cardiovascular efficiency and tolerance of lactic acid build-up. In turn, these changes will lead to improved performance, endurance, and greater speed.
Moreover, the training helps prevent injuries caused by repetitive overuse because it allows you to increase your training intensity without burnout.
2. Regularly Schedule a Sports Massage Session
Sports massage helps prevent injury. Also, in the event of an injury, it will help heal the affected area as part of a therapeutic program. Regularly scheduled sports massage will help stop the build-up of tension, release stress, improve muscle health and function, and keep you in good shape.
Moreover, sports massage is designed to work your tissues to elongate muscles, enhance nutrient and blood flow, and improve waste product elimination.
Making sports massage as part of your training routine will benefit you on two levels. First, it helps prevent injury. Second, it helps you recover from the demands you have put on yourself. Think of maintenance sports massage as your monthly mental, emotional and physical tune-up.
3. Know the Rules of the Sport
The rules in every sport are designed to keep things safe. So it is crucial for you to know these rules before engaging in an actual game.
In soccer, for instance, you know that you cannot come from behind and crash into the player’s leg just to steal the ball. It is safer, and the legal thing to do, to go after the ball instead of the player.
Learn how to respect the rules on illegal procedures. Also, insist on enforcement by umpires, judges, and referees. Remember that these rules were created to keep participants safe and healthy, so aim to know them and follow each by heart.
4. Always Wear Protective Equipment
Protective gear and equipment like mouth guards, protective pads, gloves, and helmets were not designed because people are weak. The fact is that these protective gadgets are designed for anyone engaging in sports.
Choose protective gear that fit you well to help save your hands, knees, eyes, head and teeth. You must never play without wearing your safety gear.
5. Warm Up Before Playing
Warm-up exercises are crucial because these activities can help make your muscles less susceptible to injuries. Make sure, though, that your warm-up exercises suit your sport. You can begin with your sport slowly or practice certain mental rehearsals and stretching depending on the kind of sport your play.
6. Know When to Stop
If you are tired or in pain, you must avoid engaging in strenuous activities. Pay attention to the different warning signs your body provides. These include pain, swelling, stiffness, weakness, numbness, redness and tingling. Cease your training whenever you feel these discomforts.
Be honest with your coaches if you have been hurt. When necessary, you must see a doctor to evaluate your injuries. Make sure to follow his advice regarding how and when to return to play. Some injuries may require medical attention while most need a period of inactivity and rest.
Rest is a key component of proper training. It does not just prevent injuries of fatigue, overuse, and poor judgement, but it also makes you stronger.
Playing sports is not just about winning; it is also about keeping your mind and body always healthy and fit. Sports injuries may be inevitable, but they can be significantly prevented and minimized if you follow these rules. Also, know when to see a doctor to keep any injuries from becoming worse.
About the Author
Marc Innes is the Owner and Principal of the School of Natural Therapies, a training school for Massage & Holistic Therapies located in London. Marc began his career in the NHS, working in a number of managerial and training roles within the Ambulance Service in London. He spent much of that time educating and coaching medical staff. Over time, he developed an interest in all things complementary to Allopathic Medicine, in particular, Reiki Healing and EFT, which culminated in running a successful teaching and ‘energy healing’ practice. Marc is passionate about the massage and complementary therapy industry.