Wellness isn’t just a state of being; it’s a way of life. We’re now seeing more people engage in activities that promote better physical and mental health. There’s no denying that people are eating better and exercising more often. And this wellness wave isn’t just limited to yoga and organic food: people of all ages have picked up sports as a hobby.
There are no downsides to this massive shift in thinking. We’ve known for a long time the many benefits that sports provide. For adults, it’s a chance to let off some steam. Children can also learn teamwork and camaraderie when they play with their peers. But just like any activity, it’s not without its risks. Injuries are common, and it pays to come prepared.
Sports-related injuries are on the rise, and while that can be seen as the inevitable outcome, it shouldn’t lull us into complacency. Saying that injuries are a common outcome of physical activity isn’t an excuse. We need to do everything we can to reduce the risks to ensure maximum enjoyment.
Don’t rush into any activity without preparation. Here are a few things you need to do before and while playing sports.
- Know your body
It’s perfectly normal to feel some soreness or pain after rigorous physical activity. Some fitness coaches would even say that pain signals that your workout is working. But if you experience lingering or excruciating pain, you need to see a doctor immediately. It’s often a sign that you’ve been injured. Ankle sprains and knee injuries are especially common when doing sports.
One can say that injuries are a natural consequence of sports, but many people are injured from low-intensity activities. It all boils down to how prepared you are. If you warm up properly and follow the correct form, your chances of getting injured are drastically lessened. You also need to listen to your body. Slow down or stop if you feel the pain coming on.
- Get yourself checked
Everyone thinks that they’re strong enough for sports until their bodies fail them. A long list of factors affects one’s fitness and overall ability, including genetics, age, and health. That said, you shouldn’t automatically assume that you’re fit enough to engage in sports. It’s important to see a doctor and to have yourself checked before doing anything strenuous.
The doctor will run a battery of tests that will measure your body’s strength and endurance. They will also use this opportunity to check for any conditions that may affect your ability to play sports. Stress and overexertion can exacerbate any problems you have, and you may become injured or sick if you don’t pace yourself. Safety gear such as a mouthguard for football only protects against external injuries and does nothing for preexisting conditions.
- Don’t rush into the program
Some people dismiss warm-ups as silly or superfluous, but they perform an important function. You could get injured if you rush into any physical activity without preparing your body. The best way to prime your body for sports is to perform warm-up exercises. The exercises may be simple in nature, but they go a long way in preventing injuries.
If you’re new to sports, you can ask a coach to teach you some basic exercises that will help activate your muscles and prepare your body for rigorous activity. Don’t attempt to do things yourself. There are two basic types of warm-up exercises: static and dynamic. Stretching and isometric exercises are categorized as static. Meanwhile, running and jumping jacks are dynamic.
- Check your form
Quality beats quantity any day, especially in sports. It’s better to do ten perfectly executed push-ups than a hundred sloppy ones. Not only is it inefficient, but it’s also dangerous. Make sure you’re following the standard form and technique for whatever it is you like to do. Every sport has a prescribed way of doing things.
Whether you practice yoga or play football, make sure you’re doing things the right way, if only to protect yourself. Sloppy form can lead to injuries and affect the quality of your play. Bad habits can be difficult to shake off, so you need to do things right the first time.
The bottom line
We all think we’re invincible when we’re playing sports, but our bodies can only do so much. If you don’t often rest, your body is more susceptible to injury. These four tips will help you maximize your time and energy while keeping yourself safe. Your body will tell you if you’re overexerting yourself, and ignoring the signs can cause pain and injury.