When it comes to sports, a healthy body is one of the most important aspects to performance. Below are 7 tips to help prevent injury during athletic activities.
- Wear the right shoes: With the exception of swimming, most sports or training programs involve using your feet as your base. Your feet are the impact location that makes everything else go. Because of that, you will need to find a good shoe and keep your feet healthy. When you wear the right shoes, the rest of your body is less prone to injury because it is being supported correctly. Good fitting shoes are often pricey, but keep in mind that medical bills and time-off your training is also a hefty price to pay. Also, remember that it is best to replace shoes after 4-6 months of wear.
- Warm- up: Always begin your exercises slowly. Even if you feel mentally prepared, your body will not be ready to perform for at least 5-10 minutes of safe warming-up. A good warm up gets blood flowing to your body, which loosens your joints and strengthens your muscles. These things are important to avoid sports injuries.
- Cooldown/stretch: Similar to needing a proper warm-up, your body also needs time to slowly return to a resting heart rate after training. Spend 5-10 minutes winding your body down with slower movements. Also, be sure to stretch after every workout in order to prevent injury.
- Increase intensity gradually: One of the biggest reasons people become injured is from overuse. When we hit the ground running too hard or for too long, our bodies become easily susceptible to injury. You need to train your muscles and joints gradually. This process requires slowly adding more weight, more speed, or more time over weeks or months. You cannot begin performing like an Olympian over night; even the gold medalists spent years preparing their bodies to meet the demands of their sport.
- See a chiropractor: A chiropractor can help you identify your personal Achille’s heel. It is important to know where your body is prone to injury and could use strengthening; because, if you know where your physical weaknesses are, then you can spend time strengthening those parts of your body. Over time, those weaknesses can be overcome and will be less prone to injury. A chiropractor can also help make a personalized plan to strengthen your fragile muscles and joints.
- Exercise 5-6 days/week: The best way to condition your body is to train almost every day. Your body will better become accustomed to the stresses of working out if you are using it daily! In the beginning, you will need to start with less strenuous exercise, but over time your body will be able to handle more intense training. The daily reminder to your body will strengthen its muscles and joints, thereby creating better resistance to injury.
- Take a rest day: On the flip side of the previous suggestion, it is also important to have proper rest! If you really cannot handle taking an entire day off, use your rest day to do lighter work like stretches or casual walking.
If you would like to discuss techniques related to a particular sport, please ask the Doctor during your next visit. If you are looking for stretching techniques, please see our videos here.