5 ways to prevent sports and active injuries
Spring is our busiest time of year at db Orthopedic Physical Therapy because people become active with spring sports from being sedentary during the winter months. Do you run, play in a softball league or pick-up tennis games on the weekend? How can you prepare for these and other sports in order to prevent injury? It's not too late to start preparing by starting a light stretching and conditioning program. It's also important to get any nagging injuries or pain addressed before it becomes serious.
Here are five steps that will help you minimize injuries and allow you to be an active participant in your favorite Springtime activities:
1. Begin by looking at your nutritional habits. Are you feeling sluggish by eating excessive carbohydrates? Are you starting to increase lean protein intake to help with muscle recovery? If you drink eight to ten glasses of water per day now, you'll give your cells proper hydration which can be a risk factor in muscle strains.
2. Start a daily walking program. This can be done at lunchtime or immediately after dinner. Research has shown that static stretching is not as effective in preparing muscle strains as whole body warm-up activities. Daily whole body movement includes jumping jacks, jumping rope, hip swings and repetitive arm circles. These activities are ideal to get the blood flowing and can also be used to properly warm-up prior to your chosen sport. Consider making these activities a regular part of your pre-sports routine.
3. Another critical step during your early training stage is to get proper rest. Studies continue to support the many benefits of seven or eight hours of sleep per night, especially for muscle recovery. Proper sleep can make a big difference in preventing injuries.
4. Participate in a preseason and in-season strengthening and stretching program. Do you play a throwing sport? Check out our pre-game warm-up and shoulder strengthening program on YouTube.
5. Perform a whole body active warm-up as well as leg and core strengthening exercises if you are preparing for a jogging program. Proper balance of leg and core strength as well as flexibility can help reduce chronic overuse syndromes like achilles tendinitis, hamstring strains and low back pain associated with running.
If you have pain or a lingering injury that might be preventing you from enjoying the outdoors this Spring, please call us early at 732-747-1262 for an appointment. A referral from a physician is not always required.