There’s nothing wrong in playing your hardest, but it’s just as important to play smart as it is to play hard.
The first step in playing smart is to learn about injury prevention and know what to avoid. Most athletic injuries are not the result of accidents but are due to poor preparation for sports activity, overuse of joints or muscles, and missing the early warning signs of injury. Tendon injuries, cramps, shoulder injuries, muscle tears, and back pain are some of the most common summer sports injuries.
Although many athletes give it their all on the field, any increase in activity has the potential to cause damage to a body that isn’t prepared for it. In the winter, many of us tend to be less active. This leads to many people having a strong urge to get outside and be physically active once it warms up.
While any doctor would encourage exercise, your body might not be ready for this sudden change in activity. Without preparation, anyone can be susceptible to injury.
Heading Into Summer Sports & Activities?
Keep these injury prevention tips in mind:
- Prepare your body for sports activity with sport-specific conditioning and muscle strengthening
- Strengthen opposing muscle groups to maintain balance of muscle strength
- Maintain proper hydration and give your body adequate nutrition
- At the beginning of your sport or workout, activate your body with a dynamic warm up- Begin at an easy pace to slowly increase heart rate, respiratory rate and blood flow to muscles
- Warm up both upper and lower extremities
- Know when to rest or stop. Many injuries occur from over-fatigued muscles
- Use properly fitting protective gear when appropriate, like helmets and wrist and shin guards
- Use properly fitting sports clothing and supportive sport-specific foot gear
- Vary your fitness routine. Repetitive use of muscles and joints can cause strain and injury
- If you feel persistent pain in your muscles or joints, stop exercising and have the pain evaluated by an orthopedic physician
Have You Already Been Injured?
Your orthopedic physician can recommend a physical therapist who will show you the proper stretches and exercises that will help your muscles heal more quickly.