All sports have a risk of injury whether it is you training in a gym or playing full contact rugby. In general, the more contact in sport, the greater risk you are at. However, most injuries that occur are due to overuse. Most sports injuries are sprains (injuries to ligaments), strains (injuries to muscles) or stress fractures (injury to bone). Injury prevention is one of the easiest things to conquer if you have the correct knowledge.
There are a few simple tips that you can follow that will decrease your chances of an injury.
- REST – take time off each week, having one day a week off will allow your body to recover and reduce the chance of injury. Rest is a key part of injury prevention, many individuals are unaware of how much stress your body is put through during exercise, your body needs time to recover. Additionally resting will allow you to train harder on the next session as your muscles will be relaxed and reconditioned.
- WARM UP – many people hate doing warm ups as they find it boring, you can make your warm up as enjoyable as you want it to be. Warming up before a session in the gym will enhance your training performance. Your warm up should prepare the body for your session by slowly increasing your heart rate and circulation, effectively this will start to loosen your joints and increase the blood flow to your muscles. Stretching during your warm prepares them for physical activity and prevents injuries.
- COOL DOWN – this is just as vital as warming up, another factor that the majority of people ignore. Taking the time after your session to slow your heart rate and stretch is a key component in injury prevention. The best thing to do is to come up with a short routine of stretches that works for you and incorporate it into every session. A cool down proposes other benefits such as; reduced breathing rate, bring the bodies temperature back to normal and returns muscles to their optimal length.
- A REGULAR MASSAGE SESSION – any individual that pushes their body through any vigorous movement, sport, strength training or aerobic exercise can benefit from a regular massage session to decrease their chances of injury. Massage is used to heal and prevent injuries that occur through strenuous exercise and movements. Massage also promotes physiological and psychological improvements. Benefits of massage for exercise and injury prevention are things such as; reduced injury rate by improving range of motion and muscle flexibility, increased performance results, it can shorten the recovery time needed between workouts and finally it can increases the supply of nutrients and oxygen through increased blood flow and the elimination of lactic acid in the muscles.
- KNOW YOUR OWN LIMITS – knowing your own limit is a factor of injury prevention that people are unaware off. If you feel like you need a rest then rest, don’t push yourself through pain and ignore it as this where the majority of overuse injuries occur. Focus on your own plan and don’t worry about what others are doing in the gym, you just need to do what you can do and you will see results as well as preventing injury.
There are other factors that can prevent injury but personally I feel if you follow these 5 simple steps you will reduce your chance of injury and increase your performance when training. If you have any questions about injury prevention then feel free to ask me when you see me around.
Better Body Exercise Prescription