Vary your activities and build a strong core to help prevent injuries
Most athletic injuries are not the result of accidents but are due to poor preparation for sports activity, overuse of joints or muscles, and missing the early warning signs of injury- according to sports medicine specialist Tim Greene, MD.
“Most sports injuries are preventable and can be traced to a lack of core body strength. Core strength refers to the strength of the muscles of the torso that keep your stomach strong and support your back. Think in terms of a tree that has strong branches but a weak trunk. The imbalance of strength can cause strain, cracking and even collapse the trunk. If your core is not strong and you engage in a running or jumping activity, your risk for injury is increased.”
When you play golf or tennis, swim, or cycle, Dr. Greene recommends varying your activities so your body doesn’t become unevenly strengthened and conditioned. “Incorporating programs like yoga, Pilates, and strength training can be very effective for developing your core and reducing the risk for injury.”
As you go about your summer sports activities, keep these injury prevention tips in mind:
- Prepare your body for sports activity with sport-specific conditioning and muscle strengthening.
- Strengthen opposing muscle groups to maintain balance of muscle strength.
- Maintain proper hydration and give your body adequate nutrition.
- At the beginning of your sport or workout, activate your body with a dynamic warm up- Begin at an easy pace to slowly increase heart rate, respiratory rate and blood flow to muscles.
- Warm up both upper and lower extremities.
- Know when to rest or stop. Many injuries occur from over-fatigued muscles.
- Use properly fitting protective gear when appropriate, like helmets and wrist and shin guards.
- Use properly fitting sports clothing and supportive sport-specific foot gear.
- Vary your fitness routine. Repetitive use of muscles and joints can cause strain and injury.
- If you feel persistent pain in your muscles or joints, stop exercising and have the pain evaluated.
This summer the ONS Blog will present a series on preventing summer sports injuries. Check back regularly for valuable tips from our sports medicine experts that may just keep you out of the doctor’s office.