I think it is safe to say that no one enjoys being sidelined by an injury. If you have ever sat on the sidelines and watched your team play, you know how sitting out can hurt almost as much as the injury. On that sad note, here are a few ideas on how to avoid those sports related injuries that put you off your fitness track.
- Warm up: Take 10 minutes to bring your heart rate up to your target zone while gradually priming your muscles and connective tissue for action. Warming up improves your overall mobility and coordination.
- Cool down: Cooling down works like your warm up, but in reverse. By taking 10 minutes to bring your heart rate safely back to normal, you also help your muscles flush any build up of waste products from your muscles. This helps decrease post workout stiff joints and sore muscles.
- Stretch: You should definitely stretch after every workout; just include it in your cool down (see number two). Keeping flexible reduces your chances of pulling a muscle or straining a ligament.
- Good Technique: There is often a reason for "technique" and it is not usually an aesthetic one. No! Good technique helps to protect the body. Form is very important when it comes to working with weights. If you find that you are lifting sloppily, stop and evaluate the weight you're lifting and your form. Using control is always a good idea when strength training.
- Good Shoes: Good shoes go a long way. Most athletics shoes are highly engineered to protect your feet and your body from the impact often associated with running. Plus, sneakers are designed to handle the specific demands of different sports. Playing tennis in running shoes is practically a twisted ankle waiting to happen.
Hopefully these tips will keep you playing all season, no matter if your sport is soccer, running, or step aerobics!