5 Ways to Prevent Sports Injuries
Besides being a whole lot of fun, playing sports keeps your body healthy and conditioned through every life stage. However, the risk of injury is always there—especially if you’re a fan of high-contact sports. But if you’re using the wrong techniques, even fun summer activities, like paddleboarding, can result in injury.
While accidents happen and it’s impossible to completely prevent injuries, the following tips can decrease their likelihood by quite a bit. Ready to stay in the game? Here’s what you need to know to keep yourself as safe as possible.
Warm Up & Cool Down
Before engaging in any aerobic exercise, it’s important to warm up your muscles and get them ready for action. Even while enjoying outdoor activities in the summer, warmups are a must—or you could end up with a nasty injury. So, always arrive early to your practices and games to get moving and stretch it out before you hit the field.
Once you’re done, you cannot just go get changed and head out to enjoy the rest of the day. You need to cool down as well to bring your heart rate back down to the normal range and normalize your blood pressure. To cool down, all you need to do is continue moving your body for 5 to 10 minutes afterward before going to the locker room. Walking or some gentle stretches are a great, simple cool down.
Wear All the Right Gear
By wearing the right gear, you can greatly decrease your risks of bumps, abrasions, and more serious injuries. Not just any protective gear will do, however. Your items need to match the requirements for your sport.
If you’re playing football, for example, then always wear a football helmet, pads, and cleats. While playing soccer, on the other hand, it all comes down to wearing the right shoes for the field.
Across all sports, mouthguards are helpful for preventing injuries to your teeth, gums, and jaw—especially in high-contact games. You can get a boil-to-fit mouthguard over the counter at most drug stores or go to your dentist for a custom fit.
Speaking of fit, make sure all your gear fits properly. Hand-me-downs or thrift store finds may seem like a cost saver, but if they don’t fit right (or are worn out), they don’t offer the same protection from injury.
Watch Out for Your Fellow Players
When teammates and opponents alike watch out for each other, the risk of getting injured decreases across the board. For starters, you follow the rules of the game no matter what.
If you’re playing soccer, for example, don’t collide with other players to knock them off balance and make it easier to steal the ball. Or while playing softball, drop the bat at your feet before running the bases instead of tossing it to the side.
You’ll also want to keep your ears sharp to listen for communication that helps you avoid injury. If a ball is coming down hard on unsuspecting individuals, other players might yell heads up to let them know. Coaches tend to yell out warnings to their players and the opposing team as well, in an effort to keep everyone safe and sound.
Avoid Overuse Injuries
As you work on maximizing your sports performance, it’s easy to push yourself too far and end up with a serious wear-and-tear injury like tendonitis. You’ll then have to go back to the drawing board as you lose your gains while waiting to heal.
For that reason, respect your physical limits and push yourself little by little to achieve your goals. If you’re working on beating your personal records in track, for example, aim to shave tenths of a second off your time instead of full seconds—every little bit adds up.
Lastly, know when to quit for the day and regroup at another time. If your body is telling you that you’re too exhausted to continue, start your cool down and rest up for another try later on.
Never Play Injured
Despite your best efforts to stay safe while playing sports, accidents—and injuries—are bound to happen. When they do, red light therapy can help you make a full recovery, so you can get back to playing sooner.
In the meantime, skip the urge to play injured, even if you’re starting to feel a bit better after your treatments. Otherwise, you could end up reinjuring your body and potentially cause lasting pain and discomfort.
You’re better off completing your full course of treatment, including any physical therapy exercises to slowly and safely rebuild strength and flexibility. Get the green light from your doctor before getting back out there. As long as you’re physically able to stay on the sidelines, you can still attend the games and cheer on your team until you’re well enough to join them again.
Have an Injury? Accelerate Healing with TheraLight
Whenever sports injuries occur, TheraLight can help relieve discomfort and promote healing. Beyond that, the red light therapy treatments can help promote weight loss, improve sports performance, and keep you in prime shape for all your games.
If that sounds like just what you need, all you have to do is find a TheraLight provider near you. They’ll help you create a treatment plan that perfectly suits your needs and gets you back on the field fast.