If we’re planning on taking up a sport, we should first make sure that we know how to protect ourselves from injury. The Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) states that there are five body parts that commonly sustain injuries: the shoulder, ankle, groin, knee, and lower back.
Following these simple principles could save us from the pain of sports injury:
- Always begin with a warm up routine
The warm-up is probably the most important part of our exercise routine. The ideal warm-up session should last around 5 to 10 minutes. Take this time to gently stretch and exercise various muscles of the body. Start slowly and build up intensity, as this loosens the muscles and increases the flow of blood to muscle fibres. This lessens the chances of suffering an injury.
- Always use proper technique
Each sport has its unique movements, each requiring our bodies to move in a particular manner. Football and basketball require a lot of running and pivoting, putting the hamstring and knees under pressure, while tennis exerts extreme pressure on the forearm, elbow, and back. Using improper techniques may even cause an injury that requires surgery, like tennis elbow.
- Ease into it
It’s not uncommon for people to get too excited and overdo it. This is one of the most common causes of sports injuries. The other is not knowing how to differentiate between acute and chronic pain. We should listen to our bodies and stop the sport when it hurts, especially if we haven’t been physically active in a long time. It’s okay not to be a hero. We should give our bodies enough time to build stamina and flexibility before we think about testing our limits.
- Stay hydrated
Becoming dehydrated has a huge effect on our risk of suffering an injury. As we exercise, we expel vital electrolytes and moisture from of our body via sweat. Studies show that even a 2% loss in body weight due to dehydration results in a 20% drop in performance and can cause muscle cramps. Even worse, it could lead to blood thickening, putting pressure on our cardiovascular system.
- Cool down after exercising
The cool-down period is just as important as the warm-up. Don’t abruptly stop playing and go home. Let’s spend at least 5 to 10 minutes lowering our heart rate and letting our body cool down. Do some stretches and then go for a slow walk. This helps reduce muscle soreness and aids greatly in recovery.