Sports is one of the most effective physical activities that provide innumerable health benefits. According to Healthline, sports improve your mood, concentration, and sleep habits. It also helps in reducing stress and depression, boosting your self-confidence and maintaining a healthy weight.
There are so many choices of sports that you can choose from – basketball, football, baseball, volleyball, and badminton, among others. However, as human beings, we are not immune to certain injuries. In a study conducted by The Centre for International Public Health Policy of the University of Edinburgh, 24% of sports players obtain injuries in which 15% of it was experienced by playing football.
Based on the data of Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2% of cases seen in emergency departments are caused by sports injuries. Thus, it is important that we take care of our body in performing sports and even fitness-related activities.
Be in Proper Physical Condition
Before you engage in sports or training, always keep in mind that you should be in proper physical condition. Perform regular conditioning exercises that are designed specifically for your sport. Moreover, train slowly but surely. You do not learn any sports overnight. To condition your body, you need to undergo training.
Wear Protective Gear
You cannot tell if you will encounter accidents or emergencies in the middle of the game. You should be ready. Wear protective gears, equipment, and devices that will protect you from unexpected injuries. This includes mouth guards, helmets, gloves, protective pads and other equipment. Running shoes are also designed to improve your performance and decrease your risk to knee and foot injuries.
Warm up Before Playing
Warming up is a must before engaging into sports. It prepares your body, mind, and heart for the training or the sports. Warming-up gradually raises your heart rate, warms your muscles and connective tissues, improves your mobility and promotes functionality of all your body’s movements. It also allows entry of oxygen to your muscles, tendons, ligaments and flexible joints, among others.
Have Enough Sleep
Sleep plays a vital part in your recovery which is vital in your overall training program and optimal performance. Sleep can make you stronger and will prevent you from fatigue, poor judgment, and certain injuries. Even famous athletes like Lebron James and Roger Federer gets 12 hours of sleep per night.
Do Not Over Work
It is extremely important that you always listen to your body. When you engage in sports, you have to begin slowly and steadily to avoid straining some of your muscles which may lead to injuries. Do not work beyond your limits.
Based on the principles of biomechanics, the most effective way of improving your performance is by improving your techniques. Your physical built is just a small factor in your performance. The coordination of your body movements is important in performing well in different kinds of sports. For example, gymnasts are required to focus on improving their body techniques so they can perform well. Swimming, basketball and other sports require the application of biomechanics.
Our body is composed of 60% of water. When we exercise or we do sports, we lose these water. Thus, we need to replace those water through proper hydration. According to sports dietitians, water is essential in maintaining blood volume, regulating body temperature and allowing muscle contractions. Apart from water, hydrating drinks that are rich in electrolytes are recommended for athletes.
If warming up is important, cooling down is also essential. After working out or training, you have to spend at least 10 minutes of performing gentle exercises that will return your heart rate to a normal pace. By cooling down, you are allowing your body to remove excess wastes and allow the flow of oxygen and nutrients into your muscles.
It is important that you maintain and develop flexibility in your body to prevent acquiring injuries. Poor flexibility is equivalent to short and tight muscles which cause muscle and tendon strains. Through stretching, you can improve or maintain your flexibility. After cooling down, make sure you spend time stretching.
During a continuous training or a long play, remember to take a break so that your body and mind will have ample time to recover and gain energy. If you will not take a rest between sets or period, your mind will keep on pushing your body to work which will lead to injuries. It will also increase your risk to fatigue and decreased judgment. Thus, breaks are important for body recovery and mind refocusing.
Know the Rules of the Game
Basically, you have to be knowledgeable of the mechanics and rules of the sports. These rules are made to prevent athletes from acquiring injuries. For example, football restricts clipping, chop blocking and slapping a helmet to keep athletes safe. If you do not break the rules, then you do not endanger yourself to certain injuries.
Stop When Pain Occurs
Pain is the number one symptom of injury. If you experience a pain that is intolerable, stop playing or take a break. Pain is the earliest symptom of a possible injury. It will be followed by swelling, stiffness, instability, weakness, numbness, tingling and redness, among others. Pain can be felt in shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, spines, hips, knees, ankles and feet. If you experience pain from one of these parts, immediately see a sports therapist.
Diet and proper nutrition are important for athletes. A good nutrition plan is the foundation of an effective fitness program. The demands of sports and exercise on the body mean that you should replace all the energy and nutrients consumed by eating healthy food. For athletes, it is important that they eat regular, small meals to fuel their training or sport. They should also take protein to promote muscle health.
See a Sports Therapist
Lastly, it is necessary that you see your sports therapist very often so that they can check your health. They will tell you if your body is keeping up with the demands of your sports or training or if there are early symptoms of injuries. They are the experts in teaching you how to improve your performance and to prevent you from injuries.