Playing a team or individual sport is a great way to stay in shape, have fun, and make friends. The majority of adults who play sports say they play because it’s fun, and it improves their mental and physical health. Most of those who play sports also say they play to win.
Playing sports, especially with that drive to win, forces you to push yourself, which is usually a good thing. Sometimes, however, it results in a sports-related injury. According to a study by the US Department of Health and Human Services, 8.6 million episodes of sports-related injuries happen every year. While you can’t prevent every injury, you can avoid most of them by following these seven tips.
While playing a sport such as soccer or basketball is a great way to stay in shape, an important element in preventing an injury is getting in decent shape before running up and down the field or court. Don’t count on the sport to get you in shape if you haven’t worked on cardiovascular and strength conditioning in a while. Training before you start and while you play is important.
Wearing proper and properly fitting equipment is vital for every sport. Whether it’s protective equipment for contact sports or well-fitted sneakers, cleats, or a sports bra for high-intensity sports, wearing and using the right equipment will go a long way toward protecting you from injury.
Some people think the more you train and play, the better you get. However, playing and training for multiple days in a row insteading of allowing yourself a rest day can increase your risk of overuse injuries such as sprains, tears, and strains. Part of building strength and resilience is giving your body and muscles time to rest and rebuild.
You may have heard the term “no pain, no gain.” Forget it. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is amiss. Don’t work through the pain. Rest, instead.
Warm muscles are less likely to get injured. Doing stretches and other warm-up exercises before you play can reduce your risk of injury, especially for those who play sports that involve quick, dynamic movements.
Rules of a sport help, in part, to keep things safe on the field or court, and the players healthy. If you’re new to a sport, learn the rules of the game and abide by them.
Playing hard in the heat can result in dehydration and heat exhaustion. Replenishing your fluids not only keeps you healthy, but it can also help prevent muscle cramps and keep you feeling strong while playing.
For more information on how to prevent — and if necessary, treat — sports injuries, call Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute for an appointment with fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon Brian King, MD, Ph.D. Call the Northport, Alabama, office to request an appointment, or send a message to Dr. King and his team here on the website.