We all start off our new fitness plan with enthusiasm. In your mental rush, you yank on those unfamiliar exercise duds and head out to your preferred mode of sweating. For me that’s tennis, hands-down.
I’m pumped up, feeling pretty good about myself. But, after a few heated rallies with the guy or gal who’s been playing all along (instead of beginning again, for the ump-teenth time), I run like crazy to get that drop-shot, and bam…what was that fiery pain in my calf? The next day I’m limping and cringing.
All too often, we let a mindless jaunt of “getting back into exercise” result in a sports injury- a pulled muscle, tendon or sprain. How the heck are you going to keep it up after the “first burst” if you injure yourself right off the bat? I’ve learned from hard-earned personal experience six ways to avoid injuring yourself– before you have the chance to enjoy yourself.
1. Hydrate To Avoid Sports Injuries
Drink, drink, drink. Water, that is. Several hours before your workout.
2. Stretch After Your Muscles Have Warmed Up
To avoid sports injuries, give your muscles a little work out before stretching. A few minutes of regular walking; light, soft, short hitting- just to warm up those sleepy muscles. Then give them a gentle stretch. Place your heel behind you in a small lunge to stretch your Achilles tendon, then moving it back to enlongate the thigh muscle. Then allow it up by going into a full lunge to open up the hip joint. Bend over from the waist with your knees in “soft” position (not locked back) and move slowly toward the ground. Never bounce. Never stretch cold muscles.
3. Start Slowly To Avoid Sports Injuries
Be a wimp those first five minutes. Warming your muscles and stretching them properly builds a foundation for better performance in the next hour.
4. Listen To Your Body
You can avoid sports injuries by leaving your competitive pride behind, and think of your body as a friend who needs to be listened to. Are you Iron Man? No. So be nice to your body, and you can expect it exercise for you, the next day.
5. Be Positive
We can all avoid sports injuries by thinking encouraging thoughts, even if we can’t do what we could last year. Reminding ourselves of the time we’ve wasted, only makes us feel unfit. Plus, it distracts the mind from tuning into the body. Congratulate yourself for still trying.
6. Have Fun!…
Sports injuries are not fun. There you are, with your leg up, balancing an ice bag on your ankle and begging someone to get you more ibuprofen. How fit do you feel now, limpy? Hopefully you have sympathetic family members who keep you off that sprain until it heals. Hopefully, they don’t remind you how old you’re getting or that you can’t do what you used to. Hopefully, when you went out with that “first burst” of exercise mania, you put your head on straight, thought ahead, kept it light, didn’t try to prove anything and left before you hurt yourself. If so, you can celebrate your newly-found ambitions. Avoiding sports injuries is crucial to getting back into shape.