Are you always standing on the sidelines because of an injury? Though you may have thought it was always just bad luck, there are a number of factors that may be causing your repetitive sports injuries. These preventative steps can help you keep training and avoid injury.
1. Stretch the Correct Way
Stretching is an important part of any workout or sports activity. By properly stretching, you prepare your muscles for the exercises they will soon endure, but only if you stretch properly. The best form of stretching before an activity is a dynamic routine, which allows you to move while stretching. A common dynamic stretching routine is the “soldier kick,” where you bring your right foot up to meet your left hand, and then switch hands and feet, all while walking forward.
Dynamic stretching allows the muscles to warm up, as well as become more elastic, while static (non-moving) stretches actually decrease the elasticity in your muscles. In a study that tested agility, stretching using a dynamic method provided faster times over static stretches, as well helped to “prevent the likelihood of injury.”
2. Drink Enough Water
Everyone has heard that they should drink eight glasses of water per day, but the timing for drinking water is also important. Not enough water before, during and after a workout can hurt your recovery. As your muscles recover, they need more water to synthesize proteins. By following these guidelines, you can ensure you are giving your body plenty of water at the right time.
- 2 hours before exercise: 20 ounces of water
- 15-20 minutes before exercise: 8-10 ounces of water
- During exercise: 8 ounces for every 15 minutes of exercise
- After exercise: 20 ounces for every pound of body weight lost
And when in doubt—the more water, the better!
3. Wear Attire That Fits
Many times, injuries occur because of ill-fitting attire. When doing any sort of physical exercise, it is important to have the appropriate and correctly sized gear and clothing.
One of the most common issues is shoes that fit correctly. Wearing properly fitting shoes can help support your ankles, as well as help to maintain stability when running. If your shoes do not fit, you are prone to twisting and spraining an ankle—an injury that could halt your training and exercise for days or weeks.
When purchasing protective equipment, always make sure it fits correctly. Choosing gloves, helmets, pads and other gear that fits correctly will save you from further injury. Though it may be tempting to buy an item that’s on sale but does not fit, the few bucks you save could land you in the hospital.
4. Know Your Limits
Many athletes struggle with knowing their limits. Overtraining can be good at some levels, but proper recovery is always required. High-intensity training can be good for the body, but constantly pushing yourself to the edge can cause muscle tears, as well as a metabolic imbalance. Severe overtraining can also result in hormone reduction, which can make you feel exhausted.
It is also important not to do too much too quickly. Remember: If you are just starting to work out, you won’t automatically become Superman overnight. Building a foundation is key; in fact, many weightlifting coaches recommend a phase-based lifting cycle to maximize muscle strength and minimize injuries.
Though it may seem trivial, sleep is one of the most important parts to recover from physical strain. A study showed that athletes who were sleep deprived had a lower cardio endurance, leading to quicker physical exhaustion, which ultimately caused unnecessary strain on the body. It is important that you get at least 7.5 hours of sleep a night to maximize your recovery, as well as overall performance level.
6. Eat Correctly
Eating the correct foods is crucial for preventing injuries. To fuel your body, you must put in the correct amounts of the right food. Constant fast food and poor nutrition can lead to tiredness, as well as muscle fatigue. Eating too little food can prove to be problematic as well. Dailyburn.com has noted that “not taking in an adequate amount of healthy fats may raise your chances for overuse injuries (such as stress fractures and tendonitis).”
A good way to make sure you’re eating enough of the correct foods is by using apps like MyFitnessPal and Lose It! These apps track food intake, as well as offer you the ability to add the amount of your activities. Fisher-Titus’ Chef Darrin Torrey’s blog can also give you ideas for healthy and balanced meals.
After a workout or sports activity, it is important that you eat the correct food for recovery, such as carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of your activity to help replenish energy and rebuild muscle. Experts recommend that you eat around 1.2 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight and around 20 to 30 grams of protein total. If you’re struggling to find high-protein foods, check out this guide.
Now that you have the tips for preventing sports injuries, apply them. Finding success in any sport or activity will come easier. If you have suffered an exercise-related injury, make an appointment with our highly skilled Sports Medicine team at Fisher-Titus by calling 419-660-2700.