Whether you’re a fan of working out or playing sports, both are great ways to improve your activity levels and become fitter. But with physical activity, there is always a risk of injury, and so you should do your best to prevent it.
Minor injuries during physical activity are common, especially when it comes to open-field sports. Bruises and cuts can sometimes be unavoidable when you’re talking about contact sports. However, other types of injuries like sprains, strains, and overuse-related injuries can be minimized significantly with the proper steps.
Now, let’s look at how you can reduce the chances of injuries when you’re enjoying your favorite physical activity.
1. Warm Up Routine
The first thing you should always do is to warm up your body. Different people have various types of warming up routines. Your warmup routine depends a lot on what you’re doing and your current fitness level. A good example to consider is that a warm up session for a footballer will be drastically different from someone who’s a runner.
Regardless of the routine you choose, ensure that your routine checks all the boxes on different parts of your body. As a rule of thumb, start with bigger muscle groups and then work toward the smaller areas of your body. There are dozens of different videos that you can look up to gain more insights about proper warmup.
2. Stretch Your Muscles
Stretching and warm up sessions together can eliminate a lot of injuries from any physical activity. The muscles in our body are like rubber bands. Like rubber bands left in the sun for too long, not stretching your muscles before working out can cause injuries. Stretching is the process of putting your muscles through a gentle “waking up” process.
It involves repetitive motions that are usually dependent on the kind of activity that you’re going to partake in. Let’s assume that it’s a leg day at the gym for you. Stretching your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and other muscle groups should be your first priority. It greatly reduces the chances of injuries happening.
3. Check Your Technique
The one thing that a lot of people overlook and subsequently get injured is proper technique. When you’re putting your body through its paces, you need to be sure that you’re doing it the right way. Every sport and physical activity has a proper way to do it to eliminate the chance of injury.
There are several examples that we can use to drive home this point. Let’s take deadlifting in the gym – keeping your back straight will eliminate back injuries. Similarly, when throwing, football coaches teach athletes to follow proper form to avoid shoulder and elbow injuries. Each discipline has its own set of techniques and proper form that you should stick to.
4. Proper Hydration and Nutrition
The one thing even the best of us forget sometimes is proper hydration and nutrition. You need to keep yourself hydrated at all times during physical activity; it’s really that simple. Without proper hydration, you might start to cramp up and even lose consciousness in worse cases.
Since you’re sweating during physical activity, it becomes doubly important to keep your water levels up. Do not forget that proper nutrition is key to being at your physical best. Ensure that you have a diet that gives you all the required nutrients, which is a vital part of injury prevention.
5. Learn From Experience
Regardless of the discipline you’re pursuing, there’s always space to execute movements better. The best thing to do would be to talk to other, more experienced athletes. They can give you vital tips on how to minimize and even recover quicker from certain injuries.
While this is great for your growth, it is important to understand your limits. The person you’re talking to might have a completely different physical profile, so don’t make any drastic changes without consulting your coach or trainer. If you’re feeling aches or are sore after the change in technique, definitely talk to a physical therapist Seal Beach CA.
6. Cooling down Process
Many people ignore the benefits that cooling down can give you. Ask any physical therapist, and they’ll tell you that is as important as warming up. It really is strange that a lot of people just don’t do this, right? After any period of physical activity, cooling down from it is vital. The process of cooling down gradually reduces your heart rate and decreases the chance of blood pooling.
Not many people are aware that lactic acid is produced during strenuous activity. This can result in muscle fatigue and cause soreness and pain the next day. One reliable course of reducing lactic acid buildup is through a proper cooling down routine.
7. Get Enough Recovery
When you really love to do something, there are chances that you might overdo it. But letting your body recover should be an important part of your schedule. During physical activity, a lot of things are happening inside your body that are not immediately apparent. You generate a lot of waste, and soft tissues get broken down.
You need to ensure that you have a recovery period that can help you recuperate and come back stronger. Recovery is not just important for the physical benefits; you also need to give your mind a break. This is especially true in competitive sports, where performing day in and day out can be draining mentally.