Physical activity is important for maintaining a strong, healthy body, but sports and exercise, especially when performed incorrectly, carry a risk of sports injuries. A sports injury prevention program can reduce the severity, likelihood, or frequency of sports injuries in athletes.
Common Sports Injuries
Athletes can sustain an injury to any part of their body, but major muscle groups and load-bearing joints are the most susceptible to harm. There are a few common sports injuries including:
- Sprains or strains to connective tissue
- Joint injury and dislocation
- Muscular tears
- Bone fractures
- Shin splints
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Repeated stress injuries
Causes of Sports Injuries
While many sports injuries are the result of trauma from contact with other players and equipment, it is more common for athletes to experience sports injuries due to poor training and preparation, inadequate protective gear, poor health, and lack of a proper warm-up or stretching routine.
Tips for Sports Injury Prevention
Sports injury prevention is as simple as taking the proper precautions when training and during an event, as well as preparing and conditioning your body to withstand the stress of intense exercise. Here are our tips for preventing sports injuries.
Injury Prevention #1 – Build a training program
The cornerstone of any sports injury prevention program is conditioning. A comprehensive training program conditions your body to respond to activity with more stability and flexibility. It also allows your body to recover faster after activity to prevent sports injuries.
Your program should consist of cardiovascular exercises, strength and resistance training, and flexibility. Vary your workouts, focussing on different muscle groups to avoid overuse or repetitive sports injuries, including shin splints and tendonitis.
Injury Prevention #2 – Warm-up, cool down
Warm-up exercises increase the temperature of deep muscle tissue, break down glycogen to power muscles, boost blood flow to flood the muscles with oxygen, and promote joint efficiency. Without an adequate warm-up session before strenuous exercise, you are prone to overexertion injuries such as sprains and strains.
A basic warm-up part should consist of 10-20 minutes of exercises focused on moving major muscle groups such as brisk walking, jogging, or cycling. You can also incorporate dynamic exercises, that focus on specific muscles used during your sporting activity, into your warm-up routine.
For an effective cooldown routine, simply continue your previous activity at a reduced intensity level for 5-10 minutes.
Injury Prevention #3 – Stretch
Stretching exercises for sports injury prevention should be performed to the point of tension without causing extreme discomfort. Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds, and repeat 3-5 times to gradually improve the flexibility of your ligaments and muscles.
Massage therapists from Wayne Massage can recommend a series of stretches specific to your sport, or more generalised stretches, to add to your training program.
Incorporating remedial sports massages can help to improve your range of motion by breaking up old scar tissue and boosting healthy blood flow to muscles.
Injury Prevention #4 – Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is important to your overall health. Poor hydration before, during, and after activity can cause cramping and strains connective tissue and muscles, sometimes to the point of causing muscle tears. Poor hydration results in earlier muscle fatigue, which increases your risk of sports injuries.
Experts recommend that you drink 500-700 mL of water 3-4 hours before you exercise, then 100-250 mL for every 10-20 minutes of exercise depending on the intensity of the activity, the weather, and your body weight. Avoid drinking water in large amounts all at once, as this may cause a condition called hyponatremia because your blood is diluted and your sodium levels have dropped to a dangerously low level.
For prolonged, intense activity, water may be inadequate to restore your hydration levels. Sports drinks containing electrolytes replenish the minerals lost through your perspiration and which are essential to proper muscle and nerve function.
Injury Prevention #5 – Stop and Rest
Rest and recovery are equally as important to preventing sport-related injuries as conditioning your body. Overuse is one of the biggest factors that contribute to sports injuries, and a lack of recovery time is associated with impaired athletic performance.
Take at least one day off per week from intensive training, or reduce your training load if you experience persistent lethargy and resting heart rate fluctuations. You can use guided meditation or remedial sports massage therapy to promote deep relaxation, which can help you recover both physically and psychologically from an intensive training program to prevent sports injuries.
Injury Prevention #6 – Sports massage
Remedial sports massages can promote blood flow to muscles, which floods the area with nutrients and flushes away lactic acid buildup to facilitate a faster post-workout recovery. It also encourages supple muscles that respond better to stretching exercises before and after exercise.
You can incorporate sports massages into your training program and before sporting events to improve your flexibility. This can reduce the risk of microtears in your muscles and overstretching your ligaments and tendons.
Keep Your Body Healthy and Strong with Wayne Massage
At Wayne Massage, we offer three types of massages to enhance your athletic performance and protect your body against sports injuries.
For optimal athletic performance, it is vital to protect yourself with a sports injury prevention program that incorporates training, stretching, and recovery techniques.
Wayne Massage can help you enhance your workout routine and prevent sports injuries. Call any of our Sydney branches or use our app to book your massage appointment with an experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate massage therapist.