• Wed. May 22nd, 2024

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We all exercise for different reasons. For some people, exercise is crucial to our everyday sense of well being. For others, striving towards a fitness goal boosts motivation and drive in all areas of life.

For those who are new to fitness, the first strides into a more active lifestyle might be for mental health reasons or to boost your energy levels. Perhaps you’ve just started a home fitness programme to keep your spirits up during the COVID-19 lockdown? 

Whatever relationship you have with exercise, sustaining a sports injury can really throw you off course – and it can happen to anyone, at any level of experience. Ranging from serious damage (such as head injuries and broken bones) to milder sports injuries (like pulled muscles and shin splints), these mishaps often force us to press pause on our fitness goals. 

7 Tips for Sports Injury Protection

Without a crystal ball, it’s impossible to predict and prevent every sports injury that might come your way. However, you can take precautions to reduce the risk of injury. To help you stay as safe as possible during your favourite physical activities, consider these important preventative measures:

  1.  How to prevent head injuries in sports

Of all the accidents that can happen while playing sports, head injuries are among the most serious, as they have the potential for very long term negative consequences. If you are playing sports with a high risk of head injury (such as rugby or boxing), it’s important to wear properly fitted protective equipment.

There are lots of other physical activities that you may not associate with head injuries. It’s important to take proper precautions during these activities too. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), for example, found that cycling was the sport responsible for the greatest incidences of head injuries. Head injuries were also common in sports such as football, horse riding, golf and ice skating. Whatever activity you are taking part in, make sure your protective equipment fits correctly and is up to standard.

As well as wearing protective equipment correctly, it’s important to know what to do if you sustain a head injury. This will reduce the risk of any long term damage. For instance, you should go to A&E if you fall unconscious or vomit after the injury. You should also visit A&E if you notice any behavioural changes, have problems with your memory or have a headache that doesn’t ease when you take painkillers.

  1. How to prevent broken bones

It’s not easy to predict, and therefore prevent, broken bones while playing sport. However, ensuring you are warmed up and fully prepared to play will help reduce the risk. Launching into a brand new activity with more experienced players, for example, is a recipe for accidents and mishaps. Always play within your level of ability.

Taking care of your exercise environment can also reduce the risk of broken bones. Removing obstacles and tripping hazards before you start your activity will ensure you have a safe space for you to play.

Properly fitted equipment will further protect you from broken bones. The correct footwear, for example, can prevent you from rolling your ankle and sustaining a fracture. 

  1. How to prevent stress fractures

Stress fractures don’t happen with one trip or fall. Instead they occur when a bone is placed under a great deal of pressure over time, particularly if that bone was not in prime health originally. 

To reduce your risk of stress fractures, it is a good idea to gradually increase your activity levels, allowing your body to get used to a new fitness routine. Don’t jump straight into something ambitious without training.

Wearing supportive shoes can also reduce the risk of stress fractures. You might want to consider your diet, too. Ensuring you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D could prove beneficial by increasing bone strength. 

  1. How to prevent pulled muscles

Pulled muscles can happen all too easily, and can keep you off your feet for weeks. To reduce the risk of a pulled muscle, it may be a good idea to incorporate strength training into your fitness routine. This will ensure your muscles are strong, flexible and more resistant to sprains and strains.
Stretching the muscle groups you will use before exercising, and warming up gently will also help prevent this common sports injury.

  1. How to prevent shin splints

Shin splints are the true blight of many a runner. These sharp shooting pains in the front of your lower leg can really put you off your game. There are lots of simple exercises you can try to keep shin splints at bay, including picking up a towel with your toes! 

Standing straight with one leg lifted in front of you, then flexing and pointing your toe is an easy anti-shin splint stretch. You could also try a one legged bridge position, or try walking using your whole foot, rolling from your heel to your tiptoes with each step.

Properly fitting shoes can, again, make a world of difference to those prone to shin splints. Some shoe shops even offer a gait analysis, which will help you find the right fit for your feet. 

  1. How to prevent knee injuries

Knee injuries can be incredibly painful and affect your life beyond the realms of fitness. Once again, the key to sports injury prevention in this area is preparing your body for activity by warming up, stretching and incorporating low-impact exercises into your fitness regime. 

To protect your knees, make sure you focus on the muscle groups that stabilise them; your calf muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and glutes all play an important role. Keep these muscles strong and flexible, and you will reduce the risk of knee injuries.

  1. How to prevent tendonitis

Tendonitis is a tendon injury that is common in individuals who play a great deal of sports and who overuse their tendons. Pushing your body too far and too hard can be a recipe for this painful inflammatory condition, a fact that martial arts-lover Calvin learned the hard way

To reduce the risk of tendonitis, avoid excessive repetitive motion by mixing up your fitness regime (such as combining running with swimming), including lower impact exercises in your routine (like cycling, swimming and weight training) and taking the time to stretch before and after exercise.

Stay Safe Out There!

Using protective equipment properly, preparing adequately, warming down and listening to your body are key ways to avoid sports injuries. Keep these crucial tips in mind, and you could stay fit and healthy for longer while enjoying the activities you love.

By admin