8 Proven Ways to Prevent Sports Injuries
The path to a healthy and injury-free life is often paved with good intentions. And enjoying sports without getting any injuries is possible if we are aware of what we can do and what we shouldn’t do when playing. It’s essential to understand the steps you can take to prevent sports injuries and put your best foot forward whenever you head out to play a sport. To help you out with that, here are eight proven preventative ways to keep you safe when indulging in sports:
#1: Start It Right
It’s easy to get a little too excited when we’re playing sports with other people. However, this excitement is often what also hinders us to prevent sports injuries. Thus, make sure you start every game right by doing some stretching and warm-ups before playing.
Do Some Stretching First
Stretch before and after playing a sport to increase your flexibility, which will decrease your chance of injury. When you stretch correctly, it will also minimize soreness that can occur in muscles or joints later on in the day or even for days following playtime.
Warm-up Before the Game
Warming up properly will help your body avoid injury and decrease the chance of soreness during and after play. Therefore, ensure a proper warm-up prior to exercising or playing a sport to prevent sports injuries. Remember, cold muscles quickly become injured because they are not flexible enough or strong enough yet! That’s why athletes under 18 need to have a parent or coach present during the entire game to ensure their safety.
See our treatment to prevent sports injuries: Chiropractic For Kids
#2: Don’t Forget to Cool Down
Cooling down after a training or a game is as crucial as warming up before a competition to prevent sports injuries. The stretching or exercise you did during the warm-up is similar to those you will perform in cooling down.
Why Cool Down?
If you finish an intense exercise without taking time to cool down, your body can go into a state of shock, which significantly increases the risk of injury. The period after intense exercise is critical as the blood flow to your muscles returns to normal.
Just think about what happens when we walk from a freezing room out into the hot sun. We feel overheated and dehydrated because our blood is not only pumping quickly through our heart but also rushing towards our skin to help regulate our temperature. Our body suffers the same fatigue when we stop exercising all of a sudden. And cooling down will help you avoid that burning sensation in your muscles or even more severe problems like blackouts and fainting.
How to Do It?
While it can be quite similar to your warm-up and stretching routines, cooling down has to be done at a much slower pace. This is to prevent sudden blood pressure drops and make sure that your muscles are relaxing.
After your game or training for example, you can gradually reduce the intensity of your exercises. Spend at least five minutes doing some light jogging, cycling or walking. Finish by stretching your muscles again.
#3: Learn Proper Technique When Performing Sports Skills
Learning the proper technique when performing sports skills such as batting or throwing helps to prevent sports injuries. When you’re using the correct methods and technique, you are less likely to put unnecessary stress on your muscles and joints. Furthermore, it becomes much easier to play the sport with the proper stance and posture.
How to Improve Technique?
It’s a good idea to have a coach or a teacher that can help you master all skills in a safe and appropriate way. If you don’t have access to such a person, it’s still possible to learn some basic skills on your own. For instance, some good videos on YouTube show kids and adults playing various sports and how they perform their skills correctly. These can surely help you develop the correct technique over time.
#4: Wear the Right Gear When Playing a Sport
Know what type of gear works best depending on your sport (i.e., shin guards for hockey, helmet, and shoulder pads for football) to prevent sports injuries from happening. Because if you are not correctly wearing gear designed for safety, you will be more likely to experience bruises, cuts, and even fractures.
Suppose you don’t wear the right kind of equipment during playtime. In that case, there is a good chance you could end up with an injury since manufacturers design this gear to protect against specific types of sports-related injuries (i.e., knee pads protect players from scrapes and scratches while playing ice hockey).
#5: Know When to Take a Break
If you start feeling pain or if you suffer from an injury that doesn’t seem to be going away, it may be time for you to take a break. Don’t ignore any warning signs such as sharp shooting pain when performing specific movements during a game or training. If anything feels wrong, then it is vital to stop playing to prevent sports injuries further.
In addition, know when to take a time out for an injury during sports play. If you feel like something is not right with your body, ask the coach if you can sit down and rest on the bench until you are ready to go back into action and prevent sports injuries from getting severe!
To prevent sports injuries further, avoid contact sports if you’re previously hurt or are in pain before playing. It will help lower your chance of re-injuring yourself and decrease the chances of your current injury worsening while participating in play.
#6: Don’t Rush Any Recoveries after Suffering From an Injury
Rushing your body to recover from a previous damage and playing right away will only lessen your capacity to prevent sports injuries. Continuing to play when you are not completely healed will only aggravate your injury and lengthen the amount of time it takes for you to heal.
Let Your Body Heal
Let’s say you suffer from an overuse injury (such as tendonitis or shin splints). It is essential to lower the intensity level during play and rest when needed so that you can recover from the injury without furthering the damage to your body’s tissues. You need to allow your body time to heal. This means that you should avoid participating in sports for a specific amount of time to prevent sports injuries from taking place or getting more severe.
Let Your Doctor Know
Suppose you have suffered from a sports-related concussion in the past. In that case, it is essential to let your doctor know about this when prescribing any pain medication. This will prevent sports injuries from worsening and help lower your risk of suffering from another concern while taking medications.
#7: Stay Hydrated
It might seem irrelevant, but staying hydrated is also a good idea to prevent sports injuries. If you are dehydrated, then your blood volume will decrease, and so will the flow of oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. This would mean that various parts won’t receive as much support as they need for playtime.
In some cases, low blood volume can lead to muscle fatigue, causing injuries such as sprains or strains if there isn’t enough blood supply available during movement. Thus, remember to drink lots of water before and after playing any type of sport!
#8: Don’t Make Sudden Changes in Your Game
If you are playing a sport that requires specific techniques (i.e., tennis, soccer), don’t change the rules of performing these skills without getting proper instruction first. It can increase your chance of injury since it is difficult for the body to adjust quickly when new movements or actions suddenly become part of playtime. If you want to prevent sports injuries, be consistent in how you play!
The Bottom Line
Sports injuries can happen anytime and ruin our game. But we don’t need to be afraid of playing our favorite sport just because of these. As long as we know how we can prevent sports injuries and we’re equipped with the proper preventative measures, we can enjoy our games with no worries!