You really can’t lambast sports for all the good things it does. Basketball, table tennis, football, baseball, ice hockey, and even martial arts infuse discipline in a child that would have otherwise been wayward, running with the wrong crowd. And yet, even when you enjoy watching your child from the bleachers, you know there are risks when you engage in competition — no matter how healthy. Top of that list is a torn ACL and a slew of sports injuries you’d wish never existed.
Of course, it’s a lot better than jumping off a bridge without a harness. But you really can’t help grimace at pictures of super-athletes who are caught in a web of pain. Take, for instance, the case of Paul George. The veteran NBA player appeared on videos with a horrific broken leg during one of the U.S. basketball team training sessions in 2014. He sustained an open fracture where his lower leg bone (tibia) snap and bend at a 90-degree angle.
The good news is sports injuries are totally preventable. For starters, think of a competition as you would going to battle. Chances are, those who come unprepared are not only most likely to lose but also most likely to get injured. The secret, therefore, is to arm yourself to the teeth.
Take Time Off
You might think that taking time off is a lazy thing to do. While practicing every day is a good thing, carving out time to rest is wise. It’s a healthy thing to do.
Know that rest is essential for muscles to grow. When you engage in contact sports or do extensive exercise, you create microscopic tears in the tissues of your muscle. When you rest, fibroblast cells repair these torn tissues. In the long run, you create stronger muscles this way.
In addition, you avoid exercise-induced fatigue when you rest. Take note that the glycogen levels of your muscle are depleted when you exercise. These are carbohydrates stored by your muscle. When these run out, you’ll feel soreness and muscle fatigue. Rest is essential to refill the glycogen lost in your muscles.
Gear Yourself for Battle
There’s a reason police or military wear bulletproof vests. They know it can be a lifesaver should things go haywire on the job. By the same token, sports protective equipment isn’t for aesthetics purposes. They’re there to protect you from harm. Depending on the sports, there are knee pads, shoulder pads, headgear, and eyewear, for starters.
You must wear the right gear. For one, you certainly won’t feel like giving it your best shot if your uniform is too tight. Also, it’s why a custom-fit mouthguard is spot-on. It ensures your head is protected from heavy impacts such as a head-on collision with another player in a contact sport (e.g., basketball, football) or a strong punch in boxing. In short, you can get the best protection when you wear what fits your body best.
But of course, you need to strengthen those muscles that would bear the biggest brunt in your sports. If you’re a boxer, upper body and lower body muscles should all work together. Therefore, you need to exercise both muscle groups. To note, strength conditioning for a boxer can include a whole list of routines. For starters, there are these exercises:
- Leg lifts
Take Time to Warm Up and Stretch
Moreover, you’ll have to set aside ample time to stretch and warm up before you actually do your practice or play. You’ll notice this in every NBA game. Players are actually toned up when they get to court. That means they’ve done their stretches and their warm-up routine. Plus, they wear a sweater to keep that body heat at its peak.
When your muscles are warm and stretched, they’re more flexible. They’re geared for action. In the process, you can put your best showing when you play. Take note that warming up is a spot-on way to lower the risk of sports injuries (knee, ankle, ACL, etc.).
When you engage in sports or do exercises, you raise your core body temperature. To not overheat, your body dissipates excess heat by sweating. By drinking fluids, you not only replenish lost water but also allow proper thermoregulation in your body. In doing so, you prevent heat exhaustion, cramps, and heatstroke.
Play by the Rules
You might be wondering why there’s no headbutting in MMA or UFC. Well, that’s because such an act is dangerous. Even choking is limited. You cannot use your thumb to choke an opponent. Indeed, rules are there to protect us in sports. Play by them, and you should be safe and sound before and after your game.