It’s common for athletes and sports enthusiasts to say, ‘No pain, no gain.’ And to some extent, it’s true: you have to practice for many grueling hours, and muscles—even those that you don’t even know existed—will ache and throb after being pushed to the limits.
However, pain should NOT be coming from injury, and if you push yourself too much or the wrong way you will end up breaking something. Here are tips on how to prevent sports injuries.
Common sports injuries
The most common sports injuries are swollen, strained or sprained muscles. The more aggravated injuries include fractures and dislocations. Certain sports may also make you more prone to hurting your knee and Achilles tendons.
Get the doctor’s opinion
Before you embark on any fitness regimen or sport, talk to your doctor and get his clearance. This is particularly crucial if you have experienced prior injuries or have a medical condition such as asthma or a heart problem.
Take baby steps, starting at an easy pace and then upping the difficulty or length of your regimen by about 10 percent every week. You may also want to let your muscles ‘rest’ between sessions, alternating sports with a low-impact exercise that focuses on another part of the body.
Prepare your muscles
Most sports will be particularly demanding of a specific muscle group. For example, the repetitive movements in golf will wear down the arm and elbow area. That’s why it’s important to strengthen those particular areas so they can sustain the pressure.
Maintain proper movement
Learn how to do the proper ‘form’ (for example, the right way to swing the racket) so you don’t overuse the wrong muscles. Taking a few sessions under a professional trainer can help you master the movements, many of which are designed maximize the power or
strength of that muscle group or prevent strain.
Don’t forget to warm up
Get your blood flowing to the muscles with a warm up exercise like slow stretching or cardiovascular workouts. Cooling down is equally crucial.
Invest in the right gear
Know the protective gear and buy the best you can afford. The cost of high quality protective gear is still smaller than the therapy and medicines you will need to heal a sports injury.
Exercise every day
It’s better and safer to exercise for a short time each day then to cram all your activity on Saturday. Being a ‘weekend warrior’ will only lead you to ‘shocked’ and strained muscles.
Photo from livestrong.com