Injury prevention activities are important for any athlete. An injury during the season can wreck not only an athlete’s year but potentially their entire career. Injuries during the off-season can be a pain because of the time it takes to heal and recover. For those who do not consider themselves athletes, an injury can put a damper on exercise routines and progress for health goals.
Injury prevention activities are important for any athlete. An injury during the season can wreck not only an athlete’s year but potentially their entire career. Injuries during the off-season can be a pain because of the time it takes to heal and recover. For those who do not consider themselves athletes, an injury can put a halt to their life as well. Injuries put a damper on exercise routines, daily routines, and health goals.
Nutrition as Injury Prevention
You have probably heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat.’ If you are missing essential nutrients your body is going to tell you. This can show in muscles getting tight, joints hurting, and other dull pain starting.
There are certain tests you can get done, such as blood tests, that show deficiencies such as iron or vitamin D. These can take some time and do cost money but are easily run by your family doctor. They are helpful because you know exactly what you are deficient in and what you are doing right.
If you want to avoid the doctor you can do some internet research to figure out what may be wrong. If you find yourself light-headed during practice, you might want to take sodium with your pre-workout. If your muscles are tight, try to get more magnesium.
Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs
A good way to make sure you do not get injured while working out is to have a solid warm-up and cool-down routine. If your joints and muscles are not warmed up before you start moving and doing some serious cardio, you could be in a lot of trouble.
Allowing your body to warm up before you start your main exercise is healthier than jumping straight into rigorous routines. Do this by walking at a brisk pace and gently stretching. Slowly work your way into your main exercise. A proper cool down is as important as your warmup, though. As you finish the hardest part of your routine, it is best to keep moving so your muscles do not get stiff. If this happens, it can make the next several days difficult. Because you will be stiff and sore, it will make wanting to exercise unappealing.
Strength Exercises for Injury Prevention
If you go to physical therapy, you have probably done weight training. By using weak muscles, you make them stronger. This results in your muscles growing and being able to take on different weights or impacts.
Either weight lifting or resistance bands are a great way to strengthen your body. Focus on specific areas that are weak or prone to injury. Try not to overwork these areas but make sure they are getting a good workout. This allows them to grow until they can handle high-intensity workouts.
Dynamic Stretching Activities
In the past ten years or so, there has been a major shift from static stretching to dynamic stretching. This is partly because of how much better dynamic stretching is for your body.
Static stretching will only stretch your muscles instead of warming them up at the same time. By stretching your muscles regularly, it can make them prone to tearing. This does not mean that you need to stop stretching. Just don’t push hard on cold muscles. If you do incorporate stretching, as you should, it’s better to lean towards dynamic stretching.
Cross-Training as Prevention
As weird as this may sound, exercising in a variety of ways can be helpful to your body. Think about it for a minute. If you are exercising the same muscles over and over, your other muscles are going to weaken and atrophy. This imbalance makes you more susceptible to injury and damage. A well-rounded routine is the best way to keep your body strong and healthy.
To prevent your less-used muscles from weakening, switch up your activities. Do something that is going to move you in different directions and use those weaker muscles. Though you may be into running, try something that will get you moving from side to side. This will engage your lateral muscles and your core. Soccer is a great option. You will run, squat, lunge to your side, and do many more motions.
Start simple when cross-training. You don’t have to take up another sport or double your workout. All you have to do is incorporate some extra exercises that move different muscles. This can be done by adding to your routine or having a day a week where you try something different.
Yes, you read that right. You do not have to stop moving to recover. There can still be movement in your day. You can have a good workout, so long as it is less intense.
For weightlifting, this is a de-load day. Do not add weight or even stay at the same weight you have been lifting. This is a day where you lift less than what you have been. You don’t have to take all the weight off, simply remove a few pounds. This allows your body to rest for a little bit and recover while still staying in motion.
For cardio, try doing something moderate. If you are running, do not run as far or as fast as you usually do. Take a walk while keeping a brisk pace. Explore a new area by walking around town. Keep it simple. As long as it is less strenuous, you are doing your de-load day correctly.
These options are some of the best injury prevention activities. While there are other options for recovering, we wanted you to have access to our personal favorites. Try them out and see what works for you and your body. Give yourself some time with each technique to see how your body responds. If an activity hurts or causes pain, stop. Move onto something else that does not hurt.
At Bridge Physical Therapy we offer a variety of relief techniques to help you recover and repair. We want to make sure that you do not get hurt in the future. If you want help trying something new like one of these techniques, give our office a call. We would love to help you now so that you are not hurt later. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy these injury prevention activities.