Playing sports can be fun and exciting especially if you’re a competitive person. It helps burn fat and you release endorphins “happy chemicals” which makes you feel good. To help prevent injury you should always do the (4) following:
1. Wear Protective Gear: Always remember before you participate in a sport to wear the proper protective gear (i.e. helmet, mouth guard, pads) for that activity. Protective gear, when used properly, will help guard against risks and even help save lives.
2. Warm-Up/Cool-down: A good warm-up, 5-10 minutes before play is important to help you avoid injury such as sprains and strains. It will also get your cardiovascular system going to:
- increase blood flow to your muscles
- raise your body temperature
- warm-up and loosen stiff muscles
- build elasticity
- improve performance
- lubricate the joints
Stretching is also important after a warm-up or cool-down. It helps increase flexibility, reduce risk of joint/muscle/tendon injury, and reduce fatigued muscle cramping or soreness. Stretching even provides mental and physical relaxation.
At the end of your activity cool down to help reduce stiffness, return your heart rate and blood flow to normal and relax your muscles.
3. Proper Technique: Proper exercise technique helps decreases the risk of injury.
Keep your balance. For example, when using free weights lift with your legs, not your back, to prevent injury. Do not lift more weight than you are able to.
Always properly breathe during exercise because if you hold your breath it could elevate your blood pressure to a dangerously high level.
4. Resting and Recovery: After an activity, depending on the intensity, you may need 1-3 days of rest so that your muscles can repair and rebuild. To prevent a longer recovery time or inability to recover, never overexert or exercise injured. Listen to your body, and respond to how you feel.