How to prevent the most common sports-related injuries



The most frequent types of sports injuries are sprains, strains and stress fractures. Sprains are injuries to your ligaments, the fibrous tissue that connects two bones, while strains are muscle injuriesor damage to those tissues that contract and allow you to move. Stress fractures or breaks are injuries to your bones.


All exercise can cause physical harm or damage if you overdo it or put your body into an awkward position. In addition, if you are in a competitive field, the pressure to win can cause significant emotional stress. Professional athletes take steps to mitigate this, with the help of their coaches and specialist sports psychologists.



Preventing injuries


There are several steps you can easily take to avoid injury. These include:


  • Wearing the right gear, including suitable clothing and protective equipment. It’s vital to protect yourself in a way that is appropriate to your sporting activity.
  • Participating in your sport properly using the correct techniques and playing and practicing safely at all times.
  • Taking regular breaks by building in regular rest periods to your practice and game schedule.
  • Taking time out completely by having at least one day per week without training and one month off your particular type of training every year to help your body recover.
  • Building muscle strengthening into your routine training so you target those areas used in play.
  • Warming up and down before and after sports activity so your stretching increases your flexibility and fitness.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after vigorous exercise to prevent dehydration.
  • Stopping exercise altogether during very hot and humid conditions or if you are experiencing pain.


Clothing and protective equipment


The sports clothing you choose will be dependent on your specific field, but recent research has demonstrated that compression clothing may have a beneficial effect for most sports enthusiasts during exercise,whether it is worn on its own or under other clothing. It’s also known to aid recovery from injury because it reduces muscle oscillations and swelling.


Compression clothing is designed for men, women and children, and there are many uses for different garments. For example, if you’re looking for a shoulder support shirt in the women’s model, you’ll find they are available in most sizes and lots of attractive colors from brands like Tommie Copper. You can also get comfortable compression sleeves for all your joints, including yourankles, knees, wrists, arms and elbows. These provide compression and relief to each area.


Protective gear is designed to additionally shield specific areas of your body from injury, including all your joints and your head. You may want to use pads on your neck, shoulder, shins and chest, for example, and add eyewear, mouthpieces, face guards and protective cups depending on your sport.


Playing safely


Learning a new sport is always exciting, and it can be quite a challenge at times. During training sessions, it is important that you follow the instructions issued by your coach when it comes to safe techniques, particularly during contact sports.Contact sport is described in sports medicine as an activity in which body contact is an integral componentof the sport, such asfootball, boxing, wrestling, martial arts, or rugby. It is also used for those activities in which contactoccurs while the players are engaged in the sport, such asbasketball, hockey and lacrosse.


Practicing wisely


Between games or events, you should make sure your exercise routines are helping to develop your muscle strength and physical flexibility. Several activities are good for both muscle strength and flexibility, such as yoga and dance. Climbing stairs and hill walking are good for strengthening your legs and preventing falls, whilePilates and Tai Chi are great for flexibility. Other exercise routines to improve your strength includelifting weights, working with resistance bands, squats, sit-ups, push-ups and vigorous aerobics.


To prevent falls, you can also try hiking and lifting weights, while flexibility is improved by stretching exercises. You will know if you are doing enough to ward off injury if you get to the point in your workout where you need a short rest before continuing. Never continue your routine, however, if you are in pain, and always drink sufficient fluids before, during and after exercise and sport.


Emotional stress


If you find that you are becoming anxious and worried about your sports performance, there are several things you can do to help alleviate the stress.Sports psychologists act to relieve both trait anxiety and state anxiety. You may, for example, get temporarily anxious before a major tournament. This is known as state anxiety. If your personality is such that you are characteristically nervous, this is known as trait anxiety.


Among the techniques used to tackle anxiety, two are favored by sports psychologists as being among the most effective. The first is labeling your fears, and the second is practicing deep breathing. Athletes label their fears by learning to associate any former negative thoughts, worries or feelings and perhaps an increased heart ratewith becoming fully prepared to perform and compete.


Breathing techniques have long been used by yoga practitioners, meditators and musicians to calm the mind and encourage the body to perform at its best capacity. To practicecontrolling your diaphragm, place your right hand on your upper chest and your left hand on your abdomen.

If you breathe using your full lung capacity, your right hand will stay more or less still while your left hand will move outwards. When you exhale try to delay the process so that it takes twice as long as the inhalation. Your heart rate will slow down and you will begin to feel more relaxed.


Take care of yourself


Sport is not just about becoming physically fit, although you will want to be at your physical best to participate and enjoy your activity. However, it’s also about good mental health, so take the time to listen to your mind as well as your body, enjoy what you do,and stay well and free from injury.











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