Few things ruin a sports or athletic career like injury. You constantly hear about athletes tearing ACLs, or a rotator cuff, even muscle pulls leave professional athletes benched. There are several things you need to do to avoid injury when we engage in physical activity, and this includes everyone from power walkers to NFL players. There are several easy measures you can take to increase muscle strength and flexibility to avoid common sports injuries.
It’s difficult to pinpoint any one thing more effective for preventing sports injury than a proper warm up. A proper warm up means you are preparing your muscles for physical activity. You don’t want to rush into a fast-paced workout, or you will risk muscle tears, tightness, and stiffness. It’s also important that you don’t confuse a warm up with stretching, as stretching muscles before they are warm, can do a lot of harm. Yoga poses, like Sun Salutation, are great workout warm-ups.
Stretching after a workout will truly help increase flexibility, and you don’t risk the same muscle tears, pulls, and tightness you do when you stretch prior to working out. Make sure your stretches target each part of the body, and that you stretch each side equally to make sure your body remains balanced. Make sure you’re not over stretching, or bouncing in your stretches.
Believe it or not, meditation can truly prevent injury. Meditation brings you into the present, allowing you to be in touch fully with your body. You’ll be able to examine what hurts, or is sore from a previous activity, and because of that, you’re more aware of when you push your body beyond its limits. Meditation can also allow us to visualize and focus on a specific athletic goal, and in order to achieve something physically, we must first achieve it mentally.
Building muscle and increasing flexibility are important factors in preventing injury. Strong muscles do a great job of supporting joints, which can go a long way in injury prevention. Ensuring that those same muscles are also flexible will help prevent torn and pulled muscles.
Make sure to keep in touch with your breath while working out and participating in sports. Your breath controls how your entire body operates so proper breathing is key to performance.
Overtraining, or overworking your body will tire and tear muscles, making regular training uncomfortable. You’re overtraining if muscles always feel tight and stiff, or sore. It’s important to give your body the time it needs to heal torn muscles, so that they can remain strong, especially muscles around your knees, hips and shoulders. Overtraining also puts joints in danger, as putting too much weight, or resistance on joints over a period of time will cause them to weaken to the point they won’t be able to support your athletic endeavors. Make sure you take a day off if you feel too tight or sore following a workout.
It all comes back to the kitchen. What you put into your body will become a direct output for what your body can do and what results it can produce. Eating right allows muscles, bones, and skin to stay healthy. Injury is best avoided with total, overall health. Make sure you choose foods that will have a positive impact on your health, and eat sugars and junk food in moderation.
Even if you find yourself facing a sports injury, you can’t give up! Recovering from injury can be nearly as tough mentally as it is physically, so keeping a positive mind is a necessity. Additionally, make sure you don’t give up on a workout or regime if you plan to participate in sports, keeping your body in shape is one of your best defenses from injury.
Don’t skip out on working all of your muscle groups. Strong muscles are imperative in preventing injury, and skipping out on some muscle groups leaves parts of the body more open to injury. Make sure you divide exercise time between all muscle groups.
Preventing sports injuries is a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Safeguards like warming up, eating right, and stretching after physical activity are great ways to protect your body from harm, on and off the field. Use caution and keep joints and muscles in mind when engaging in sports to avoid any discomfort, stretching, or straining.
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