Many people are making it a priority to become physically active in order to take advantage of the health benefits exercising has to offer. However, for some people, particularly those who don’t properly warm-up, train, or who overdo their workout, being physically active can cause sports injuries.
What Are Sports Injuries?
Sports injuries are the kinds of injuries that most often occur during a sport or exercise. Some sports injuries result from accidents while others are due to poor training practices and conditioning, malfunctioning equipment, or lack of a proper warm-up and stretch. Almost any part of your body is vulnerable to sports injuries, however, the musculoskeletal system, which consists of muscles, bones, and tissues is what sports injuries are most commonly referring to.
Fortunately, most sports injuries can fully heal, if treated effectively, and you can return to physical activity. Even better, you can prevent sports injuries by taking the proper precautions.
First-Aid Tips for Athletes
- Looking after the injury by thinking R.I.C.E., that is: rest, ice, compression, and elevation immediately after the injury occurs.
- Let the injury completely heal before returning to play; this will go a long way toward sports injury prevention.
Warming Up, Stretching, and Cooling Down
This is vital to sports injury prevention, but most of us skip these steps. If you plan time in your workout schedule to do these things, you’ll be more likely to do them. You can drastically prevent sports injuries by warming up your body before physical activity. A warm-up may consist of any light aerobic and cardiovascular activity. Only after a light warm-up, which should last at least five minutes, should you attempt to stretch.
Stretching properly may reduce muscle injuries and it provides these benefits:
- Increases flexibility and range-of-motion
- Promotes proper exercise posture
- Relaxes muscles
- Improves coordination
You need to gradually slow down your body after a workout or exercise. Five minutes of slowed-down, easy activities will help your body recover from a workout.
In addition to avoiding injuries, cooling down has these benefits:
- Brings heart rate to normal speed
- Returns breathing to normal
- Reduces muscle soreness and stiffness
- Limits lightheadedness and dizziness
- Relaxes muscles
Running Stretches and Exercises to Prevent Injuries
Running is an activity that many people enjoy and also use to help get their bodies in peak physical condition. If running is performed properly, the activity can also help relax you and bring you peace of mind for a few moments in your busy day.
In order to be able to fully enjoy running, you don’t want to be worried about injuring yourself. Below are some common injuries and suggestions for preventing them.
Some of the frequently seen running sports injuries include:
- Ankle injuries
- Knee injuries
- Shin splints
- Stress fractures
- Hip injuries
- Pelvic injuries
- Skin Injuries
- Heat injuries
In order to help prevent running injuries from occurring while enjoying a run, you should always properly prepare for the run by performing stretches and exercises that help prevent any physical harm that may result from running.
Suggested stretches and exercises:
- Traditional lunges – Traditional lunges work to strengthen a runner’s hamstrings, quads, and glutes. All three of these areas are directly affected when running, and can sustain nasty injuries if not properly taken care of before, during and after running.
- Bridge pose – The bridge pose is another strengthening exercise for the hamstrings and glutes of an individual. The stronger an individual’s body is, the more rigorous activity it can participate in without resulting in injury.
- Forearm plank – The forearm plank is a core strengthening exercise. Although many individuals may not realize that their core is a very important aspect during a run, it truly is. An individual’s core is the overall body stabilizer during running, and must be protected in order to protect the individual’s spine throughout an intense workout.
Running sports injuries can not only affect an individual for the time being, they can also affect an individual’s workout schedule for the long run. The best way possible to help prevent running sports injuries from occurring is to proactively work to prevent them. These are just a couple of the many different stretches and exercises you can incorporate into your routine to keep you in peak physical performing condition.
Don’t Let Swimming Injuries Slow You Down
Sports-related injuries are so frustrating. You spend a lot of time working to stay fit, and now you’re laid up, unable to continue regularly exercising. Swimming is one of the best ways to keep your body in great shape, but joint problems can be caused with overuse. Shoulder injuries are especially common, ranging from tendinitis to rotator cuff impingement. But you don’t have to miss a minute of your favorite workout because of injury.
Here are some ways to prevent long running swimming injuries:
- Don’t get tired or lazy! Maintain your stroke technique at all times. It can be easy to feel tired and let your form relax. Prevent swimming injuries by taking a short break if unable to keep your technique accurate.
- Switch strokes. Everyone has their favorite, but it’s important to mix it up to prevent specific joint overuse. Breaststroke can be harder on your hips and knees so try switching after a few laps.
- Get plenty of rest. This can be frustrating, but it’s definitely worth it to prevent swimming injuries that will keep you out of the pool for longer.
- Work on strengthening your core and muscles surrounding your joints. This way your joints won’t be taking all of the pressure as you’re performing in the pool.
- Stay in close contact with professionals. Your coaches, trainers, and medical professionals are the experts so let them know how you are feeling and if you have any pain. Take their advice on how far to push yourself.
It is easy to prevent running swimming injuries before they happen. It is less easy to recover. Make these simple tips part of your routine every time you get in the water. They will go far in helping you prevent those long running swimming injuries so you can enjoy your workout.
Preventing Cycling Injuries
Nothing slows down a person’s fitness progress faster than a sports related injury. Injuries can occur in nearly any type of sport, and cycling is no exception. It is important to prevent long running cycling injuries, and it can be done with a little forethought and information. Preventing cycling injuries can be as simple as changing your position or warming up before you cycle. Below are some additional techniques for specific areas of the body.
While knee injuries in cycling are much less common than during running, they still happen. Here are some ways you can protect your knees when you cycle.
- Warm-up when you first begin your ride; choose a low gear so that you are “spinning” more than “pushing” the peddles.
- Find a place to fit your bike. There are many adjustments that can be made to your bike so that it aligns to your body, not the other way around.
Another common cycling injury is the head injury. Head injuries occur when a person has a fall when cycling. The injuries range from minor scrapes and bruises to traumatic brain injuries. The easiest way to prevent head and brain injuries while cycling is to wear a bike helmet. Wearing helmets reduces the severity of brain injuries and head trauma by 85 percent.
Cycling can sometimes cause spinal injuries or irritation. Spinal pain is caused by riding in the same position for extended times. Neck pain is one of the most frequent types of spinal pain that cyclists experience. Changing your position while riding will keep your spine and the muscles around it from becoming fatigued and prevent cycling injuries. Adding drop bars or aerobars to your bike will allow you to more easily change position.
Let’s face it, most bike seats are not that comfortable for those long haul rides. Fortunately, there are now innovative seat designs for both men and women. Cyclists who like to ride a lot may want to consider purchasing one of these specialized seats to help alleviate uncomfortable pressure. A specially designed seat will not only make your ride more enjoyable, it can help in to prevent cycling injuries.
A long running cycling injury can become very serious. Try the above quick fixes to prevent sports injuries. In many cases, these easy steps will keep your cycling injuries at bay. But if you do sustain an injury, you can read more here about the best ways to quickly recover from sports injuries.