If you are into sports, you must be quite familiar with injuries. Nothing is more disheartening to a sports person than an injury as it could put them out of action for a few days or weeks or even months in severe cases. It is common to sprain your ankle while playing rugby after a gap of a couple of weeks. But that does not stop you from hitting the field again, does it?
The most common injuries are sprains and strains. An injury to the ligament (the tight bands that connect bones at the joint) is called a sprain. A sudden stretch or pull affecting the ligaments past its bearable limits can cause a tear. Strains are injuries affecting muscles or tendons. Tendons are the fibers that anchor muscles to your bones. Strains also are known as “muscle pulls” because they are generally caused due to the over-stretching of tissues, which leads to a tear in the muscles or tendons.
Some injuries are unavoidable, like a wrong tackle by your opponent, which could cause you to fall in an awkward position causing an injury. But most injuries can be prevented with some care and conditioning.
Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries
Prevention is better than cure, even in sports. As a teenager, you should learn the importance of good practices and make them a habit. For example, you should always start your workout with some warm-up. Warming up increases blood flow to your muscles, thus providing you more flexibility, reducing the chances of injuries. Cooling down is an equally important aspect that helps in recovery.
Similarly, overuse injuries are also quite common, yet preventable. It would be best if you learned to recognize your limits. If you are tired, stop and take a break. Muscle fatigue can take away the body’s protective mechanism and increase the risk of injuries.
Follow these simple preventive measures to avoid injuries when active:
- Warm-Up: Start your daily activity with a warm-up session. Warm-up is a combination of light exercises to increase blood flow and heart rate, joint mobility exercises, and stretching. The types of exercises depend on the kind of sports you are warming up for. As an example, jogging is right before any game, which requires a lot of running.
- Follow the Rules: Before starting any game, you should know the game rules to prevent accidents and injuries. The rules are meant to keep a player safe, along with making the game interesting. For instance, in soccer, tackling from behind is not allowed as it could cause the opponent to trip and fall.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated before and during a game. Dehydration can adversely affect your muscles and bones too. It impacts performance by reducing blood volume and oxygen delivery to the working muscles causing cramps.
- Wear Appropriate Clothing and Shoes: Clothing is not just a matter of style in sports. Your attire should allow for quick sweat evaporation and keep you fresh. Heavy or excessive clothing could cause overheat and discomfort. Similarly, your footwear should not be very tight or loose as it could cause injuries.
- Select the Right Equipment: Regardless of the type of sport you play, select the appropriate sports equipment. To avoid injuries, you should choose protective gear like elbow and knee pads, mouth guards, helmets, shin pads, and gloves. If you play games like squash, eye protection is essential.
- Strengthen Your Muscles: Strength training should be a mandatory part of your routine. Conditioning your muscles with strengthening exercises will help you to remain injury-free.
- Increase Your Flexibility: To prevent injuries, you should also improve your flexibility. Stretching exercises can make your body more flexible. Stretching exercises can be performed as a part of the warm-up, cool down, and rest days. Practicing Yoga can be beneficial in this area.
- Resting: Breaks and rest play an essential role in injury prevention. With the rest that breaks provide, your muscles and joints can recuperate. Ensure you get plenty of rest and good sleep to recover from muscle weakness and fatigue, which may not be apparent. Especially if you are injured, do not push your body much and take time to recover fully.
- Eat Healthily: A balanced diet is critical for maintaining good health and providing raw materials to the body for its recovery after a practice session. Plan your diet to include all the essential nutrients and the necessary amounts of proteins and carbohydrates, depending on your sports requirements. Stay away from unhealthy and junk foods.
- Cool Down: Finally, at the end of the game, you should always remember to cool down your body. It is as important as warming up. Cooling down helps remove the lactic acid buildup in the muscles and helps to relax and rejuvenate.
Injuries are painful. But what is more painful than the wound is the time you spend in recovery as you will be out of action to take care of your injury. The points mentioned above will help you to remain healthy and avoid injuries. So, keep them in mind and follow them to enjoy injury-free sports seasons.