Exercise is a critical part of achieving and maintaining the best-possible long-term health and wellness. This is true for people of all ages, from kids to seniors and everyone in-between. Playing a sport can be an excellent way to get the exercise you need while having fun doing it. Unfortunately, playing sports and taking part in other athletic activities can open you up to the possibility of injury. This is a natural part of being active and sometimes they are unavoidable. However, there are things you can do to prepare your body and reduce your risk of getting hurt while playing. Here are a few things we would recommend:
Work Your Way into Shape
Weekend warriors can sometimes have a high rate of injury. If you are planning on playing a sport, it’s important to make sure that your body is ready to do so before jumping into the proverbial deep end. In many cases, an exercise-related injury can be prevented by following a simple conditioning program to help get your body ready.
Warm Up Properly
Warming up before any form of physical exertion is always recommended. Cold muscles are more vulnerable to common injuries like pulls, tears, and strains. Stretching before your muscles are warmed up can also lead to potential injury. Performing some low-impact or light cardio activities like walking, stationary cycling, or leg lifts can be an excellent way to ease your body into your workout and reduce your risk of getting hurt.
Keep Your Body Hydrated
You’ve heard it over and over. Hydration is always critical, but perhaps never more so than when your body is taxed from strenuous physical activity. Dehydration can significantly increase your risk of injuring yourself while playing a sport. This is especially true for spring and summer sports that are played in warmer environments.
Remember to Breathe
Breathing properly during your exercise is important for maintaining your safety and comfort. Taking in regular, deep breaths promotes the transfer of oxygen that powers the muscles. Proper breathing while working out also helps reduce the build-up of lactic acid that can weaken muscles and cause fatigue.
Don’t Forget to Cool Down
Once the game or practice is over, there is more you can do to help your body recover and keep itself healthy. For many people, cooling down after your workout can be just as beneficial as warming up. We recommend performing some light stretches after your workout is complete. When combined with deep breathing, this can improve your overall flexibility, which may help prevent potential injuries down the road.
Remaining active as we age is a major component of staying healthy but keep in mind that our bodies will naturally lose some flexibility as the years go on. Following these tips can’t guarantee that you’ll stay injury-free forever, but hopefully they will provide the knowledge you need to lower your chances of getting hurt for many more years to come. To learn more about the sports medicine services we offer or to schedule an appointment, contact Family Practice Center today. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional health tips, news, and more.