21 Mar How to prevent injury this winter if you’re an athlete
It’s winter and it’s time to go sports crazy!
We are a sport mad nation, we love training, participating and giving our best to our individual and team sports, but with an increase in the volume and intensity of the sport we play in winter comes more inevitable injuries…
So prevention of injury is front of mind for us here.
We’d rather that you avoid injury in the first place so that you can stay out on the field or court and do what you enjoy best.
This topic is front of mind for our patients too. Over the winter months a lot of athletes come through the clinic asking how they can prevent further injuries. During this time of year, we see an especially high influx of patients with injuries that could have been avoided had they used the right prevention techniques, so today I really want to shed some light on the topic, to help you get back to the game or activity that you love and stay off the injured list.
So why am I telling you this?
Well, as everyone knows, being injured is never fun – you have to sit on the side line, struggle with pain, miss out on the game that you love and then once you do recover there is the slow and arduous journey of regaining your fitness and fighting your way back onto the team.
Now, I don’t want you to be in that place, in fact I want you to keep fit and healthy throughout your sporting season and to enjoy the sport that you love pain free!
So that’s why today I’m going to share five of the best techniques for injury prevention – they are really going to help you keep on the track, field or court and continue to grow yourself as a player!
So, what do you need to do?
The first of the five techniques is to ensure that you Warm Up correctly.
Might sound boring, but you need to get this done right!
The importance of warming up is often over looked, but it will not only help avoid injury but also improve your overall performance. Your warm up should consist of a gentle jog to circulate blood and oxygen, to help supply the muscles with more energy. It should also include dynamic and active stretching drills and sports specific exercises to warm up your muscles. Allow 15-20 minutes to be game ready.
My second must do technique is Warming Down.
Being winter, it can be hard to motivate yourself to warm down when it’s freezing outside and there is the temptation to just head inside after a hard game. But warming down can actually boost your performance and avoid future injuries by way of assisting with elimination of lactic acid and preventing delayed onset muscular soreness. The aim of warming down is to gradually lower the heart rate, to remove waste products like lactic acid, reduce the risk of muscle soreness, reduce the level of adrenaline pumping through your body and allow the heart to return to its resting state safely. The warm down should include a gentle jog (5 to 10 minutes of jogging and walking in combination) followed by some light static stretching (5-10 minutes).
My next injury prevention tip is to have regular Sports Massages. Getting regular sports massages as part of your training and recovery routine can help flush the muscles of waste products and release tightness in your muscles. This supports you being in your peak condition and more likely to avoid injury. If muscular or neural tightness is not addressed, it can lead to muscular imbalances that put you at a biomechanical disadvantage and lead to a higher risk of postural and even traumatic injury from muscular tears.
Tip number 4: Nutrition
The importance of Nutrition if often over looked when thinking about injury prevention, but it is just as important as a warm up!
Having a less than optimal diet will prevent you from recovering efficiently from a training session, or match and make you more prone to injury. Aiming for a balanced diet is so important. It will be different for each individual so seek professional advice.
Tip number 5: Rest and recovery
My last tip for today is making sure you factor in Recovery!
Not allowing your body to recover properly from training will eventually result in injury. Your body needs time to rebuild itself before the next training session.
Remember – you are not training when you are training, you are training when you recover!
Rest, giving your body time to recuperate and sleep are all important parts of your training. If you are not getting your body enough time to recover, it’s time to address this now.
So there you have it, five really important techniques that will help you prevent injury!
All the top players have physiotherapist on hand to help keep them at a top fitness level. It is important to follow these injury prevention techniques to make sure you also stay injury free this sporting season.
If you have any questions about this routine, or find yourself with sporting injuries don’t hesitate to contact our clinic to arrange a GAP free, no out of pocket expenses initial appointment to get you back to the sport you love!
That’s all from me today,