Playing sports regularly helps us to keep fit and stay healthy. However, if it is not done properly, these activities can cause pain and discomfort. In this article, physiotherapist Gerda de Jong shares some tips to prevent injury during sports activities.
Engaging in sports will be a lot more enjoyable and beneficial if you do it right. Take the trouble to play safely and have fun while you work towards being a trimmer, happier you. Here are some tips to prevent an injury while involved in your favourite sports activity:
Warm-Up and Cool Down
Whether you are playing a light game of golf or sprinting around the stadium track, warming up with a gentle aerobic exercise helps to prepare the body for the activity. After the initial warm-up, remember to stretch the calf muscles in front, as well as the back of the thighs as part of your warm up routine.
After a run or a brisk walk, slowly jog or walk for five minutes. It is important to cool down after any vigorous sports activity so that your pulse rate can gradually return to normal.
For more tips on warming up and cooling down, do refer to Warming up and cooling down for exercise.
- Wear shoes that fit properly and that provide enough shock absorption and stability. Shock absorbing shoe insoles often provide a protective effect to the lower limb.
- Always remember to put on your safety gear. Depending on the sport, this may mean a helmet, knee and elbow pads, mouth guard, gloves or shin pads. External joint supports have also been found to be protective (i.e., wrist protectors, knee supports or ankle stabiliser).
- When jumping, always land with your knees bent. Avoid bending your knees past 90 degrees when doing half knee bends.
- Increase your exercise level gradually. Accept your body’s limits – do not overdo any activity.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Start your activity well hydrated, and drink to thirst during your activity.
- Use sun protection – sunscreen and a hat will protect you from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Remember, you can get the most out of your sports activities if you prepare well for it!
- Prevention of Sports Injuries: Systematic Review of Randomized Control Trials, Sari Aaltonen, Heli Karjalainen, Ari Heinonen, Archive of Internal Medicine 2007.