Work Out the
Sports help you keep fit, relieve stress and have fun. But a sports injury can put you on the sidelines. Whether you participate regularly in a formal league, or simply join some friends a few times a year, keep in mind these important injury-prevention tips.
The more contact in a sport, the greater the risk of injury.
Most occur to ligaments, tendons and muscles. Only about 5 percent involve broken bones. Most frequent are sprains (injuries to ligaments), and strains (injuries to muscles), caused when too much stress is placed on tendons, joints, bones and muscle.
To help reduce injury:
- Wear the right gear. No matter what the sport, players should wear appropriate protective equipment such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups and eyewear.
- Increase flexibility. Do stretching and warm-up exercises before and after games.
- Strengthen muscles. Do conditioning exercises during practice and before games.
- Use the proper techniques. These should be reinforced during the playing season with drills or workshops, if possible.
- Take breaks. Rest periods during practice and games can reduce injuries.
- Play safe. No headfirst sliding (baseball and softball), spearing (football) or hitting from behind (ice hockey).
- Stop the activity if there is pain. It's a sure sign your body is telling you to stop.
- Avoid overheating. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise. Decrease or stop practices during high heat and humidity; wear light clothing.
- Know your limits. It's easy to get caught up in the spirit of the sport, or want to impress your teammates. But remember what your body can and cannot do. An impressive move now could mean six weeks on the couch to recover.
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