Playing sports and working out can be a lot of fun, but injury is a tough reality we are exposed to as a result of negligence, overzealousness or just plain bad luck. Unless you’re into that type of s*it, most of us don’t enjoy pain and getting injured is simply not fun.
While I’ll admit that injury is sometimes inevitable these five simple steps might just be enough to keep you healthy, injury free and in the game.
- Pace Yourself
It is essential that you pace yourself when starting a new sporting activity; in order build the necessary experience and knowledge you need to gradually increase your intensity and frequency of the sport.
This applies to all sports, take running for example, it is seemingly without complications; put one foot in front of the other as quickly as you can. However, if you are a beginner and purely focus on running as fast as you can for as long as you can then you’re bound to run into a shin splint or something worse, and incase you didn’t know shin splints hurt like hell.
The body needs time to accustom itself to new things, and overworking it will cause fatigue, which is a major contribution to injury. I’ve recently started Crossfit, which is arguably one of the most injury prone sports, but I knew this going in, so I made sure to begin with a fundamentals class even though I was already familiar with majority of the sport moves. I also worked personally with the coach to evaluate my skill level and ability and I’m pleased to report that so far, I’m injury free.
- Invest in The Right Gear and Equipment
Any seasoned runner will have a thing or two to say about their shoes, whatever the sport or exercise might be, it is important to use the right equipment in the proper way.
For example, don’t cycle without a helmet. When I begun training for my first triathlon at the start of the year, my helmet definitely saved my life a couple of times. Shin guards for soccer, goggles for swimming, weight belts for weight lifting and so on.
Aside from protective equipment, it is important to used properly fitted gear for your chosen sport. Fit your bicycle to the right height for you, choose a tennis rack that’s not too heavy for your wrist, support your ankles with the proper shoes when you play basketball, football or run.
Ensuring you have the proper equipment for you body specifications will help you avoid stress point injuries.
- Warm up and cool down
Rushing headfirst into any type of sport is never advised. It’s better to start with a light conditioning movement like a quick jog or skipping and light stretching followed by specific sport drills before slipping into the actual workout/sport.
This way, your muscles are nice, warm and flexible thereby reducing its chances of tearing. Similarly after the activity, slowly decreasing your heart rate with a light cool down will help rid the body of lactic build up. Stretching also helps with aches, stiffness and promoting faster recovery. Foam rolling is one of my favorite ways to cool down after a workout, the “poor man’s massage” tool helps to in increase blood flow, movement and range of motion. It may hurt while your roll, but the rewards are well worth it.
Recovery and rest time is very important. It is not a myth that muscles grow and repair while you rest. There’s nothing like coming back from a rest day with renewed vigor, strength and speed.
Overworking your body with a high frequency of sporting activity means that your muscles will be exhausted and not perform as they should, often leading to injury.
- Check in Regularly with a Physiotherapist
If you’re a regular Joe who does the occasionally weekly workout, this might not apply to you but if you’re a full on gym freak, athlete or all round sports enthusiast, then a Physio check-in is a must.
A few days go I had the pleasure of visiting Excellency center in Downtown Dubai for a check up. I experienced a range of their treatments from EMS, to laser, to a machine called Indiba which essential feels like an amazing hot stone massage. I gave you guys a preview on my Instagram story @Dubaifitfoodie, so follow me for more sneak peak if you don’t already. Their teams of doctors are very experienced and professional with an European background, and they’ve been in operation in the Dubai for over two years now with many success stories in injury prevention and treatment. The conditions they treat include joint pains, stiffness, muscular aches and body posture problems to sport related injuries, rehabilitation after surgery and recovery from accidents or complex medical problems.
You can read more about them on their www.excellencycenters.com or call +971 50 4782750.
That’s it folks! I hope you can find some of this information useful in your fitness journey! X