Engaging in sports and other active hobbies is a great way to burn calories, sculpt your body, increase your heart health and have a lot of fun, but sadly, many athletes fall prey to sports injuries each year in Ireland. From twisted ankles to torn ligaments and broken bones to concussions, these injuries can affect athletes of all ability and skill levels.
Whether you’re heading out to play a casual game of footie with some friends or competing at an elite level, here are some stellar tips that can help you prevent sports injuries and limit the amount of time that you spend out of the game.
- Stretch It Out – One of the most common mistakes that any athlete can make is to neglect the important practice of stretching before running, cycling, swimming or engaging in sport of any kind. Stretching helps to ease your muscles and ligaments into the stress that they are about to undergo – with proper stretching that stress is a healthy and positive way to build muscle and tone your body. Without stretching, that stress can be very bad indeed!
- Cool Down – Help your heart return back to its resting rate without a sudden and jarring finish to your exercise by easing off at the end of your activity. While the jury is still out, many physiotherapists believe that cooling down can help reduce muscle soreness over the course of the following days.
- Don’t Play On An Injury – While it can be tempting to get out there and join your team or jump into a race you have been training for, if you have even a mild injury you should resist this urge and continue to rest up. Playing sports on a previous injury dramatically increases your chances of making that injury worse or even chronic.
- Wear Protective Gear – While helmets and protective pads can be bad for the ego, they are great for your physical safety. Countless injuries - many of them fatal - around the world each year could have easily been prevented if only the athlete was wearing the recommended protective gear. You’re never too cool to protect your noggin!
- Know the Rules – Becoming familiar with the rules of the cycling track, race course, sports field or other game/setting will ensure that you are up to date on your location and potentially help to prevent you from causing an accident that could injure you or others.
- Watch Out For Others Around You – When you’re in the zone it can feel like you’re the only person in the world – but this feeling can be very dangerous! It always pays to keep your wits about you and be aware where others are in proximity to your body and/or any equipment that you are using.
While not all sports injuries can be prevented, if you begin to follow these simple tips you are far less likely to harm yourself or others around you.