Participating in athletic activities are a great outlet. They provide a source of fun in your life while helping you stay active and fit. Whether your athletic pursuits are simply leisure activities with friends or on a competitive level, they provide tremendous physical and mental benefits. But these health benefits also come with a caveat – there is always a risk of injury when you engage in physical activity.
Fortunately, many sports injuries can be prevented with the right precautions. Many of these preventive measures involve making sure your body is in proper shape to withstand the rigors of your favorite athletic activities. Below are some fitness tips that will help reduce your risk of sports injuries.
Setting lofty fitness goals gives you something to work towards. However, it’s important to remember that in most cases, you’ll need to work up to achieving them. It’s not realistic to just go out and run a marathon if you’ve never been a runner, or to lift extremely heavy weights when you’ve never done any weight training. This is a formula for getting injured.
Regardless of your fitness goals, it’s important to start small with a realistic step that you can achieve right now. Then, as your body adjusts and gets stronger, you can gradually increase your level of activity over time. This will prevent unnecessary strain on your muscles, ligaments and bones which may cause a sports injury.
In the marathon example discussed above, your first step would be to run a mile. Then you can increase to three miles, and then five miles. As your body becomes stronger, you’ll be able to safely run longer distances until you are able to handle the rigors of a 26-mile run.
Using proper techniques is critical component to safely enjoying any sport. When you don’t use the right techniques, it significantly increases your risk of a sports injury. If you’re working out, consider taking a few sessions with a personal trainer to make sure your form is correct and you understand the proper weights to use for your ability level. If you’re playing a sport, consider signing up for a class where you can develop your skills and learn the proper techniques to not only excel at your sport, but to avoid injury.
It’s important to warm up before participating in any athletic activity. This will increase your body temperature and expedite the flow of blood to your muscles. Having warm muscles prior to exercising allows them to more easily respond to the rigors and stress associated with heavy physical activity. This significantly reduces the risk of injury.
Some good ways to warm up before exercising include light jogging and stretching exercises which target the muscle groups you are about to use. When stretching, start slowly until you begin to feel muscle tension. Make sure not to stretch beyond your capabilities. Remember, stretching should never be painful.
Your body is more likely to suffer an injury when you are fatigued, so you should never exercise when you are very tired. While you may feel motivated to push yourself to see your desired improvement, sometimes taking a day off can give your body the recovery time necessary to avoid injuries which may take a long time to heal.
While you may have a favorite sport, it’s important to vary the types of activities you participate in. Focusing on one specific type of exercise or playing one sport exclusively can increase your risk of injury. In these situations, your body becomes accustomed to certain motions and impacts, but lacks the conditioning to manage unfamiliar motions as well. This can increase your chance of injury on the rare occasions when you actually do vary your activity.
To avoid this issue, make sure your fitness regimen includes activities that provide strength training, cardiovascular exercise and flexibility. This will provide your body with a well-rounded background that lowers your risk of injury.
Just as you should warm up before you exercise, it’s also important to cool down when you’re done. Your cooldown routine should involve stretching exercises which target the muscle groups you used during your levels of peak activity. Cooling off routines should be performed for twice as long as warmup routines.
While the tips listed above will help reduce your chance of a sports injury, there’s no way to eliminate the risk entirely. Injuries occur from time to time when exercising, even if you are in excellent shape and use proper form. At Colorado Advanced Orthopedics, we’re here to help you restore a pain free life and get back to enjoying your favorite activities as soon as possible.
Our team of board-certified, fellowship trained sports medicine doctors and orthopedic surgeons are some of the most experienced in the state of Colorado. Our doctors use the latest technology and most advanced techniques to deliver medical outcomes that exceed industry standards. This is one of the primary reasons why Colorado Advanced Orthopedics has become the clinic of choice for so many individuals along the Western Slope.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Colorado Advanced Orthopedics serves patients in Meeker and throughout the White River Valley.
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