It doesn't matter what sport you're involved with. You might lace up your soccer shoes this week and then gear up for a triathlon next weekend. While some injuries are entirely unavoidable, you can reduce your risk of both mild and severe sports injuries by following the tips in this article. It's important to view the prevention of injuries from multiple angles in order to get the best picture of a healthy athlete. To best prevent sports injuries, pay attention to these three tips.
#1 Get the proper nutrition.
You can have perfect skeletal alignment, spot-on biomechanics, and the strongest possible muscles, but if you don't fuel your body properly, you're leaving yourself prone to fatigue (which is one of the most frequent causes of soft tissue injuries). Make sure you eat a diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits. They're rich in fiber and antioxidants, and will provide your body with protection against the free-radicals produced during periods of strenuous exercise. Try making kale chips for a quick and delicious snack. Rinse and dry pieces of raw kale. Toss with your favorite extra-virgin olive oil and some sea salt, spread out on a baking sheet, and pop into the over for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Are you are getting enough heart-healthy fats in your diet? Monounsaturated fats and a favorable ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 polyunsaturated fats have been shown to be protective of heart disease, and both are necessary for proper cell function. This requirement could be satisfied with a drizzle of olive oil and a few avocado slices on your salads, a handful of nuts and seeds, and some meals containing fatty fish such as salmon or herring.
#2 Cross train.
If you want to prevent sports injuries and keep your fitness routine interesting, consider adding one or more new activities to your exercise portfolio. This concept extends a bit further than just adding a lap-swimming workout to a runner's busy training schedule. Challenge your mind as well as your body. Perhaps incorporating a yoga practice into your life would work for you. The physical benefits include increased flexibility, circulation, and strength. Yoga has also been shown to decrease stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
Whether you play on a sports team on a regular basis, or enjoy active recreation on your weekends, preventing fatigue is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent sports injuries.
#3 Take care of your muscles post-workout.
Allowing yourself an adequate cool-down period after exercise is a good starting point. Let your body come back down to a comfortable temperature, walk around for a few minutes and don't sit down until your breathing has returned to a normal rate. Stretch all your main muscle groups, hydrate with some water, and if you've been exercising strenuously for over an hour, try drinking some coconut water or one of the many electrolyte-replacement beverages currently on the market.
Scar tissue tends to form in and between our muscles as a result of an acute injury or as a result of repetitive motion. Sprinting back and forth on the tennis court, or up and down the soccer field every day certainly count as repetitive motions. When our muscles become inflamed from overuse, scar tissue starts to lay itself down. It's one of our body's key survival mechanisms to survive major injury, but it can hinder our movement and function if we don't take care of it quickly.
The best tools to breakup that scar tissue and keep your muscles healthy are foam rollers and products such as TheStick. Try these out at your local sporting-goods store and find which works best for you. Once a day, roll one of these tools over each of your main muscle groups. Focus on spots that are extra sore, and direct your attention there, holding pressure on each of those sore areas until the soreness dissipates.