How to avoid Sports injuries?

Playing any sports, going for a walk or swimming regularly is first step in disease prevention. One has to change sporting activity as age advances and also the body needs a change due to various other conditions. One has to understand that our body has limitations before beginning of any exercises or sporting activity. If you are beyond 40 years of age, it will be better to consult a sports doctor/physician before you start your activities.

The most common cause of a sports injury is the failure to warm-up sufficiently before beginning strenuous activity, however injuries are also often caused by the incorrect use of equipment and insufficient safety precautions. Those most susceptible to sports injury are competitive and professional athletes, whose intense training can make certain muscles vulnerable to injury through overuse.

Although it is impossible to prevent injury all the times due to the unpredictable nature of sports and physical activities, it is possible to undertake precautionary steps.

Warm up for 5-10 min before any physical activity (exercise or sports)

Warming up in this way allows an increased flow of blood to reach the muscles, increasing the flexibility of the muscle fibers and significantly reducing the risk of pulling or straining a muscle. Ideal warm-up exercises include steady walking and jogging. These activities allow you to gradually increase the pace to further prepare your body for strenuous exercise.

Use the correct protective equipment and correct surface

For some sports, protective equipment is important to prevent damage to participants. This is particularly important when the sport or activity involves physical contact with other players and participants. It is also important to wear correct footwear when participating in sports. The correct shoes can offer support to the foot and ankle, helping to prevent twisting and injury. Protective headgear is also important to avoid any damage to the skull and the brain. It will be better to run on a tar road as compared to a cemented road or a very uneven ground to prevent injury to knee or an ankle joint.

Use the correct techniques

Many sports involve particular techniques that if used correctly help minimize the risk of injury. It is important to learn the correct techniques associated with your chosen sport or physical activity. By practicing correct techniques an individual can greatly reduce the risk of sports-related injury to muscles, tendons and bones. This is also applies to individuals carrying out fitness programs in the gym.

Don’t over-reach yourself

It is extremely important, when taking part in physical activities, to listen to your body and know your physical limits. When you begin a new sport, begin slowly and steadily to avoid pulling or straining muscles which your body may not be used to using or stretching. If you have not undertaken strenuous exercise for some time, it is especially important to build up your stamina and strength gradually to avoid injury. Over time, you will notice your fitness increases, and you will be able to undertake physical activity for longer periods of time.

Keep yourself hydrated

Water is vital to keep the body going, and this is especially true when you are active and exercising. If you are exercising in heat or in sunny weather, it is especially important to keep your body hydrated as dehydration can significantly reduce mental and physical fitness.

Cool Down for 5-10 min post your activity / work-out

Just as it is important to warm-up properly, it is also essential that you cool down sufficiently after physical activity in a gentle form of exercise (such as walking) to return your heart rate to a normal pace. The cool-down process allows your body to remove the muscles’ waste products and replace these with oxygen and nutrients. This helps to prevent stiffness of the muscles after exercising, and allows your muscles to recover steadily from physical activity. At this stage you may also wish to do some gentle stretching exercises to lengthen the muscles that you have been using during physical activity.

NOTE: Any swelling or discomfort of a joint for more than 10-15 days after the start of a sport or a physical activity indicates danger to your body. You should stop doing that activity and consult a sports medicine expert and resume.

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