Injuries in sports are commonplace. Every day, hundreds of athletes — whether professionals or amateurs — suffer from injuries. However, certain measures can minimize or prevent their occurrence. Here are some of the things that can help you stay injury-free while enjoying your favorite sport.
Safety equipment is essential in every sport — especially where physical contact is involved. Sports like football have players colliding with each other on a regular basis — but safety gear minimizes the impact of those collisions. Safety gear like a football mouthpiece can reduce damage to the mouth and teeth dramatically.
While safety gear in football is mandatory, it isn’t so in basketball and soccer. It’s a good thing some athletes have started using safety gear — breaking the taboo and making their use acceptable. Lebron James, for example, consistently wears mouthguards with flashy designs. Steph Curry, one the other hand, made ankle braces a mark of distinction.
Safety gear isn’t just for nerds if the pros are wearing them, right? One of the most essential safety gear is shoes. Proper shoes can provide adequate support and traction — limiting your chances of getting sprains or losing your balance. Needless to say, there are more than a handful of professional athletes who promote the use of good shoes.
Exercise is essential in keeping your muscles and ligaments strong, which is why football requires extensive exercise during the off-season. Slacking off on exercise can make you vulnerable to injuries, especially the more common strains and sprains.
Regular exercise also primes your mind, making your movements and reactions automatic with muscle memory. It improves your balance and general coordination, reducing your risks of falls and slips. Certain exercises can also strengthen some of the most vulnerable parts of your body.
You can strengthen your ankle with specific exercises that strengthen your ligaments or you can devote 10 minutes a day to light running while barefoot. Note that barefoot running should be limited to short periods as extensive running can increase your risk of plantar fasciitis.
Most professional teams and athletes will employ the services of nutritionists and dietitians. A proper diet can support your body in building muscle and strengthening them. Various sports have different dietary requirements depending on energy use and expenditure. Eating too little will leave you hungry and spent, while eating too much will make you gain extra weight. Maintaining the right weight is essential in reducing the strain on your joints and ligaments.
An athlete’s body needs to heal and recover, and sleep is the only way for the body to do so. The human body shifts between catabolic and anabolic phases. The anabolic phase is when the body makes use of protein to repair injuries and build muscle. Sleep is the only time your body will fully shift into the anabolic phase, making it essential in recovering from a day’s worth of training. Without proper sleep, your body will not be able to heal properly and it will accumulate damage and stress. A night of partying will not only leave you spent, but it will also dull your reflexes and leave your body more vulnerable to injuries.
Avoiding injuries requires proper equipment, the right mindset, and a lot of discipline. Take injury prevention seriously. It takes a lot to be a top-rank athlete, but it only takes one bad injury to end your career.