Practically everyone is going to play at least one sport in their lifetime, and those that engage in these physical activities increase their risk of becoming injured. Read ahead for a closer look at five tips you can use to keep yourself safe whenever you step out onto the track, court, pitch, or field.
1. Start Every Season With a Physical
No matter the athlete’s age or the sport that they are getting ready for, everyone should have a full physical before the start of the season. Physicals that are specifically designed for athletes will help you find any potential health issues before they become a serious injury. The average physical will begin with a look at the athlete’s eyesight, height, weight, blood pressure, reflexes, and medical history. More comprehensive physicals might even include a blood test to uncover any previously unnoticed illnesses.
2. Always Wear the Right Gear
Athletes should always wear the correct gear, and that includes during their training and practices. This gear is not only designed to help you perform better, but it might also play a big role in your safety. A large percentage of sports injuries are the result of using improper gear. If any of the safety gear has been damaged, then it must immediately be replaced. You might also want to consider using other products such as impact-resistant sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun.
3. Listen to Your Body
Listening to your body can be one of the most difficult parts of being an athlete. Grueling training is incredibly uncomfortable, and many athletes cannot tell the difference between discomfort from their exertion and an actual injury. General soreness is always normal, but everyone should be wary of sharp pain. Those that experience any sharp pain should rest immediately. Any pain that lingers for longer than a day or two will require a visit to the doctor.
4. Warming Up and Cooling Down
Warming up before playing and cooling down after is an absolute necessity. Countless studies have been carried out on the importance of stretching before and after all physical activity. This should include a mixture of static and dynamic stretching for all major body parts. A static stretch uses little or no movement to stretch the ligaments and soft tissue. Dynamic stretching, on the other hand, is slightly more vigorous and requires the athlete to move around instead of holding a single position.
5. Fuel Your Body Right
Just as a car needs gas to run, athletes must fuel their bodies to train. Failing to eat healthy foods and stay hydrated can actually cause some major injuries while playing a sport. Athletes with certain nutritional deficiencies will drastically increase their risk of tears, sprains, and cramps. For rigorous competitions, dehydration can become a major factor as well. Every athlete should have a diet that is filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy grains, and a large amount of water.