Five ways to avoid getting a sports injury
At Fitlife Sports Massage we have a lot of regular clients who participate regularly in physical exercise and have massage sessions as a preventative measure.
But we also see people who come to see us because they’re already injured or experiencing pain.
(As an aside, these guys generally become regulars, too. Just saying. Take a look at what they have to say!)
Sometimes sports injuries can’t be prevented. But many of them can.
Warming up your body before any kind of exercise ensures that your muscles are more flexible
and less likely to tear. This is especially important in winter, but we recommend doing it all year
The main benefit of warming down is to stop blood pooling in the lower limbs – the fitter you are, the more likely this is to occur because your heart rate goes back to normal so quickly.
It is always a good idea to get into the habit of stretching as over time it lengthens the muscle, giving greater flexibility and an increased range of movement. Stretching when warm is much more preferable as you are less likely to strain a muscle. Stretching shouldn’t cause excessive amounts of pain, although some can be expected with particularly tight and sore muscles.
It’s also really important that you have rest days, and take it easy after doing a big burst of physical exercise. Tired muscles are more prone to injury. That said, it doesn’t have to be a complete “no activity day” if you still want to keep your body moving - a casual walk, paddle or bike ride can still be considered rest if you’re not pushing your body too hard.
To put it bluntly - if you’re doing it wrong, your body isn’t going to like it.
We get a lot of runners through our doors with muscle injuries from having a bad technique which in turn throws out their shoulders, backs, hips and ankles.
But it’s not just running. It could be using cardio equipment at the gym, or how you hold the racquet when you play tennis. A slight turn of the wrist as you hit the ball for example could prevent Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis).Every sport has a technique, and it’s well worth putting in the time and effort to get it right.
When in doubt, ask an expert. Go to a running club. Ask a personal trainer at your gym. Consider getting a one-on-one session with a tennis coach.
This especially applies when you’re starting a new sport or or exercise. Start slow. Let your body ‘
get used to this new physical activity and the new stretches or strains it may bring to your muscles. Then build up over time.
But even the most experienced athletes will tell you that you need to listen to your body. It’s great to push yourself, but not if it’s going to lead to injury and keep you away from doing what you love. Know your limits. Your body will thank you for it in the long term.
You’d think this was a no brainer, but again; we see injuries related to this pretty often!
Wear a helmet when you’re batting in cricket.
Check that your hockey stick is the right length for your height - the wrong length will lead to back pain.
Make sure you’re wearing correct footwear which provides support to your body (this is especially important in running - the wrong shoes can cause all sorts of problems. Get your shoes fitted by an expert e.g. at a running shop).
We all know that you need to stay hydrated during physical activity, but it’s worth emphasising this point. Dehydration can impair your mental and physical abilities, and this can easily lead to injury if you lose concentration or control of your body.
Poor hydration also has a big effect on muscle performance and the ability to carry required nutrients around the body. Our bodies contain connective tissue in and around every muscle and bone, around organs, and it’s what connects everything to everything else. Dry connective tissue can cause adhesions which limit range of motion - and which in turn can cause injury.
If you’ve got a sports injury that’s causing you pain and preventing you from doing what you love, come and see us. We have clinics in Mount Hawthorn and Cannington.