5 Helpful Tips That Can Prevent Sports-Related Injuries
Any sport, exercise routine or other strenuous physical activity will come with a degree of risk from injury. Some sports injuries are traumatic in nature, arising from severe or sudden stressful impacts on the affected body parts. They’re immediately perceptible and often dramatic to witness, such as when a player falls down clutching their arm or knee and is unable to rise again. More commonly, however, sports injuries also arise from overuse, occurring when athletes push their bodies beyond their current limits or levels of physical conditioning.
Overtraining and lack of rest can and frequently do lead to injury. Other contributing factors may include incorrect technique and poor training methods such as inadequate warm-ups, running too-long distances or stretching to the point of pain. Existing injuries require immediate and diligent medical attention—through medication, physiotherapy, and even surgery if necessary—in order to heal properly, but it can likewise be helpful to seek professional advice on how to prevent injuries in the first place when possible.
When exploring options for physiotherapy Singapore athletes and their trainers rely on, it may also be beneficial to therapists at length about how to reduce the risk of, if not fully eliminate, sports-related injuries. To start with, here are some recommended tips you can employ to protect yourself from injury even before you set foot in the ring, field or court.
Set Sustainable Training Goals
Sport can motivate many people to set specific training goals and work hard to achieve them, and in many cases, the excitement of trying a new activity or overcoming a physically challenging obstacle can tempt beginning athletes to set the bar high. Experts, however, counsel that it’s best—especially for athletes who are just starting out—to make sure that their goals are realistic, achievable and aligned with the amount of time and effort they’re able to commit to the sport. From there, they can work with their trainers or coaches to determine what steps they can healthily take to reach those goals.
As an example, if your goal as a runner is to eventually be able to run a 200-kilometre race, it might be wise to begin training to achieve this by building up strength and stamina on shorter-distance runs. Over time, you can gradually increase the distances you run in training, enter more long-distance running events and eventually make an attempt at your long-term goal.
Prepare Thoroughly Before Starting a New Activity
Before you take up a new sport, or indeed any other form of rigorous physical activity, it’s best to meet with your primary care doctor first to discuss your goals, the benefits and the possible risks. This is especially urgent to do if you’re suffering from a preexisting health condition such as asthma, diabetes or certain heart ailments, or if you’ve sustained a severe sports- or exercise-related injury in the past. Your doctor will be in the best position to advise you on what kinds of physical activity would be ideal for you to engage in, how much time you can healthily dedicate to training and other important concerns.
Likewise, when you decide what new sport or activity to pursue, it’s wise to enlist the services of a personal trainer, coach or similar professional if you can afford it. The structured, systematic environment that a class, workshop or training programme provides can help you safely learn the proper technique required. Coaches and trainers will be able to spot errors in form and show you how to correct them in real time, lowering your risk of injury
Allot Time for Adequate Warmups and Cooldowns
Research consistently shows that adequately warmed-up muscles are less likely to be pulled, strained or otherwise damaged by rigorous physical activity. Set aside a few minutes for light stretching, walking or jogging before every training session, and make sure you do so again after training is done in order to help your muscles cool down steadily. Cooling down properly after a workout will help return your heart rate and blood pressure to normal levels and signal to your mind and body that it’s now time for rest.
Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
Whatever sport or activity you choose to pursue, learning it thoroughly and acclimatising yourself to the demands it makes on your body will take time. It’s crucial for beginning athletes not to try to do too much too fast, as overtraining bones, joints and muscles that have yet to be conditioned for high-intensity exercise is a surefire way to sustain an injury. Instead, increase the difficulty level of your training gradually, and never play or train through pain or discomfort in any body part.
Make Rest Part of Your Training Regimen
It may seem counterintuitive, but making time for rest between training sessions is essential for athletes of any level. Try to set aside one to two days a week for rest, and make sure that your total rest days amount to at least a month out of each year. Likewise, be prepared to adjust your activity levels if you notice any pain in your muscles or joints, as these are signs that your body is under more stress than it can currently handle.
Whether you’re a casual athlete, a professional or somewhere in between, participating in sports can fulfil you immensely both physically and mentally. A proactive approach to injury prevention is crucial if you wish to maximise these benefits and enjoy your playing years to the fullest.