Sports injuries are no fun. If you’re an athlete, they can be devastating to your career. And even if you’re just an average person who likes to shoot some hoops on the weekend, an injury can make everyday life difficult and prevent you from participating in your favorite activities. The good news about sports injuries is that many of them are preventable. Here are five ways you can protect yourself from injury when playing sports — whether those sports are table tennis and Frisbee golf or football and lacrosse.
- Warm Up Every Time
Don’t underestimate preventative care. Warming up is an integral part of preparing your body for activity and preventing injury to your muscles. Remember, you need to warm up no matter what the outside temperature is — just because it’s 80 degrees out doesn’t mean your muscles are ready for action.
- Wear the Right Shoes
Invest in the right shoes for your sport. It may be tough to shell out some additional cash, especially if you only play occasionally, but it’ll be worth it in the end. The effects of poorly positioned feet move up the body in a chain reaction, meaning bad shoes affect more than just your feet.
- Challenge Yourself Slowly
It’s an odd-but-true fact that sports injuries are actually more common in people who play sports less frequently. That’s because it’s easy to hurt yourself when you don’t train daily and then try to make up for lost time on the weekend. You need to build the intensity of your game slowly to avoid injury.
- See Other Doctors
Your physician isn’t the only health professional who can help you prevent and treat sports injuries. The benefits of seeing a chiropractor, for example, are many; chiropractic techniques are extremely well suited to address musculoskeletal issues, and can often relieve pain without drugs. There are even specialty sports chiropractors.
- Listen to Your Body
The most important step you can take to prevent injury is to listen to your body and allow yourself to slow down or rest when you need to. The old adage that “pain is just weakness leaving the body” is, quite simply, wrong. Pain is a symptom that something isn’t right and needs to be corrected before you continue.
What are some other ways athletes of any level can work to avoid injury? Join the discussion in the comments.