When you are an athlete and you train for sports as a professional, injuries often appear. In fact, it will be really hard to find an athlete that had no injuries in the past. This does not mean that you should not do all that you can to avoid injuries.
Fortunately, there are different things that you can do in order to drastically reduce the possibility of being injured. Here are some tips that you should remember.
1. Always Warm Up
The warm up session is mandatory before any session because it prepares your body and your mind. This is done by:
- Raising the heart rate in a gradual, safe way.
- Improving mobility.
- Warming muscles together with connective tissues.
- Improving body movement functionality.
When your warm up routine is proper, there is a much lower possibility that a tendon or muscle strain will happen. This is because muscles will be loose, pliable, ready for the workout, and warm.
2. Always Cool Down
While most athletes fully understand the importance of warm ups, there is a surprisingly high number of people that do not understand how important cool downs are. To put it as simple as possible, the cool down is the opposite of the warm up.
The cool down practically gets your breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate back to the normal levels of the body before exercising. Usually, the athlete chooses to go to the showers or change to quickly go home instead of cooling down. Make sure that you do not make this mistake so that you can reduce post-exercise soreness and reduce the possibility of being affected by an injury in the future.
3. Always Stretch
Developing or maintaining flexibility is very important when it comes to injury prevention. The reason for this is that poor flexibility stands out as one of the main causes of tendon and muscle problems. Basically, when your flexibility is reduced, your muscles are tighter and shorter. They are much more susceptible to damage that normally appears during a dynamic sporting activity.
Most people that understand the importance of stretching know that this is very important before a training session but you should be aware that it is also mandatory for after the session, right after the cool down. This helps you to reduce the strain that was put on your main muscle groups.
As a very simple example, perform leg stretches after you run. If you did an upper body workout, focus on stretches for arms, back, shoulder, and chest. When you do not know how to stretch, you can find videos on video training sites like motify.com.
4. Technique First
Every professional out there will tell you that you have to focus on technique and then on results. When you use the incorrect technique, the possibility that you will get injured is very high. The most common ones are resistance training injuries. In most situations, they are caused by the fact that the athlete wants to lift much heavier weights than what would be used with optimum technique. When you focus on the technique, you perform with higher efficiency, get higher gains from all training sessions, and you avoid injuries.
When you are not 100% sure that your technique is perfect, seek help from a reputable sporting coach or exercise professional. You need the help of someone that can offer the expert guidance needed to guarantee that you use 100% correct training protocols. This will take some time. Learning proper technique is time-consuming but you will have improved performance and you will not have to deal with often injuries and downtime.
5. Use The Best Sports Gear
Because of technological advancements, there are many advances that appeared in the past years when it comes to injury prevention. This is especially the case when referring to footwear. It is very easy to find footwear that is specially designed for the sport that you play and your individual needs. Besides this, you have access to better sports gear for practically all sports. Use them.
Buy sports gear only from retailers that are specialized in what you need. When there are doubts, talk to a representative of the retailer so you can highlight your requirements. This gives you professional advice about what you need.
6. Rest Between Sessions
Rest is one of the most undervalued parts of training programs. This is a shame since it is essential when it comes to avoiding injuries. Rest allows the body to recover from training demands and repair all the microscopic damage that appeared during workouts in muscles and all associated tissues. When you neglect to rest throughout the week and even during the training session, between exercises, more and more damage appears. Eventually, the body will be very weak and can easily be affected by injuries and even illnesses.
As a general rule, you need to have a rest day every single week. During that day, do all you can to just relax. Do not play other sports because you love them and you think that physical activity is different. At the same time, when you participate in an event or you go through a training session, take the rest that the body needs before sessions so that the following exercise can be performed with proper technique.
The last thing that should be said about rest in sports is that when you are competing, the strain put on your body is generally more than during training sessions. This is why it is a good idea to take a few days off after the competition.
You do not want to get injured so you have to do everything that you can to avoid such an unwanted event. If you do not know how to do this, the best thing that you can do is to listen to your coaches. Usually, in a team, there are different professionals that keep a close eye on you. They will tell you when you have to rest or when your technique is wrong. Listen to those that know more than you.