Sports injuries are some of the more annoying and frustrating things that happen to physically active people. Namely, on the one hand, it’s horrible because your own passion has harmed you. And of course, if the injury is severe enough, you might need to take a very long break, maybe even forever. Spinal injuries, head injuries, torn muscles, and tendons can put you in a hospital.
However, even light injuries are annoying. You won’t be facing a hospital stay, but you will be taking a long break off of your sport. They are also accompanied by annoying nagging pain and discomfort for a very long time. You can get serious surgery or therapy to fix this, but the best possible cure is not getting injured at all.
Just do it. We know nobody wants to do this, but you have to. Getting your adrenaline going is easy. Running that extra mile, betting your own numbers, lifting greater weights, running longer routes, it’s all very addictive and exciting. What isn’t exciting is sitting down after such a workout, breathing in, breathing out, and stretching. Well, unfortunately, you really have to do this.
Many injuries are caused by tense, tight muscles. When you work out a lot, you will feel your muscles get stronger, sure, you will get more toned, but, you might also shorten these muscles. A misbalance in your body, a tight shoulder, stiff hamstrings, all of this can lead to a tear or at least a very nasty pull.
So, if you are sore, get some ice, or draw yourself a warm bath. But, before you do that, do a little stretching. Try to have a good stretching routine after every workout for your entire body, with a bit more focus on the muscles you used that day, and you should be fine.
Exercise for injury prevention
Another thing you can try is actually exercising in order to prevent injuries. Namely, the benefits of yoga are well documented, and it is absolutely fantastic for keeping your limber and ready to take on any physical activity. It keeps your joints loose, light, and healthy. It’s also fantastic for your posture, and for releasing tightness that you might have felt once you began doing it.
Rest is vital. When we sleep, when we lie down and relax, that is when our muscles grow, when our body becomes stronger, when our endurance is built up, and when we regenerate. This process is vital for growth and for healing. If you don’t respect it, if you force it too much, you will end up with severe problems.
Namely, a small strain or overworked bicep can regenerate itself after a good night’s rest, and maybe taking a break from working out for a day or two. If you push yourself too much, you will end up with problems. An issue that could have solved itself will become much worse, only because you wanted to be “hard-core”.
Leave your ego at the door
Leave your ego at the door. Whether you are entering a gym or going out for the run, leave your ego at your home’s door. Working out is all about breaking your limits, seeing how far you can go. However, you can only go so far at once. If it’s not your day, if you’re not feeling it, you shouldn’t quit. What you should, however, do is be ok at having a mediocre workout.
You didn’t get all the miles you wanted – so what? You missed your last rep on your squats – who cares? The important thing is that you pushed yourself enough to grow, but not enough to actually hurt yourself.
Check for underlying issues
Think long and hard on this one – do you have any underlying issues? Did you have previous injuries or strains, is your elbow nagging you, does your shoulder creak and crack? What about do you have back pain after standing up for too long, or do you seem to regularly get strains, sprains, and soreness? Then you might have some other problem.
For example, this pain in your forearm can turn into a tennis elbow if you’re not careful. Maybe you have a slight curve in your back that can devolve into full-on kyphosis. Untreated kyphosis will just get worse and worse, especially if you enjoy exercising your chest and shoulders (since they will pull you forwards, causing a hunched posture).
Now, if you actually do have something wrong, it’s best you get professional physical therapy at a doctor’s office. Don’t just rely on “that guy” that used to workout intensely, and then got injured. Get the right diagnosis, and then address it properly.
Yes, actually warm up. After your workouts, you should stretch. Before them, you should warm up every muscle in your body, even those you won’t be using. This means limber up your neck, your arms, shoulders, core, hips…. Do, however, give some extra attention to the muscles you will be using. If you’re out for a run, keep an eye on your knees. Lifting weights means keeping your shoulders healthy. Get your arms warmed up if you’re playing tennis…
Nutrition is a vital part of keeping yourself healthy. First of all – abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym. So if that’s what you’re looking for, you should clean up your diet. Now, as far as staying uninjured, keeping an eye on your diets is still important. Getting enough good protein means you give your muscles building blocks to regenerate.
Vitamins, minerals, lots of fruit and vegetables, all of these matters if you want to stay healthy and not deal with getting sick, or too much inflammation…
And there you have it, folks, several things you need to keep in mind if you want to avoid injuries. Keep it iced, stretch regularly, and rest properly. See if you have any pre-existing conditions that you need to deal with professionally. Keep your technique and form perfect, be mindful of any pain, and you will definitely stay safe and in the clear