Athletes’ injuries typically result from overuse and muscle fatigue or muscle trauma. Overuse injuries tend to occur when the body is pushed past its physical limits or beyond an athlete’s level of conditioning. However, poor technique or training mistakes can be a contributing factor to overuse and can ultimately lead to trauma. As many people are beginning to head back outdoors to ramp up their exercise programs, it’s important to learn how to prevent sports-related injuries.
Set Attainable Goals
Whether you are starting a new fitness routine or you are continuing to advance your training, it’s key to challenge yourself safely and within reason. Be sure that when you are setting your goals, they are realistic, achievable, and most importantly sustainable. From adding distance to your runs, or increasing the training weight, setting an attainable goal gives you a milestone to gradually work towards.
Plan Your Workouts
If you are planning to begin a new sport or activity, we recommend first speaking with your primary care physician to discuss your fitness level and your options. Once you are ready to take on your new activity, be sure to learn the proper techniques to prevent injury. Working with a coach or a personal trainer is generally a great starting point to make sure you are off on the right foot.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Starting your workout with a light walk or jog is an excellent way to help prevent muscle injury. Research indicates that a slightly heated muscle is less likely to be strained. This is also true for the end of your workout. By slowly cooling down with a slow-paced walk, you allow your body to adjust back to normal temperature. We also suggest implementing a stretching routine at the end of your workout once your muscles are already warm.
Listen to Your Body
Always pay attention to the signals your body is sending you. Speak with your doctor about how to recognize the “good pain” that is normal while working out versus “bad pain” that indicates something is wrong. By listening to the messages your body is sending, you will know when it is time to push harder or time to cut back.
Take Your Time
Work with your body, not against it. Understand that learning a new sport or activity takes time, so avoid pushing your body too hard too soon. By allowing adequate time for your body to adjust to your new training schedule, your muscles and joints can become accustomed to the new routine, which lowers your risk of injury. If you’re interested in learning about our sports medicine training, call us today.