While the Olympic and Paralympic Games captivate our lives for the next few weeks, do you feel like getting out there and pretending that you are Usain Bolt or any other great athlete?
Before you do, you need to prepare yourself otherwise you could get injured or hurt. Here are a few helpful hints, so you can enjoy the Games without making ice (an excellent component within RICE for inflammation) your new friend.
Injury prevention tips:
1. Start off slowly. It’s important to gradually increase the time and intensity for whatever activity you are doing.
2. Balance between training and recovery. Training for a high number of consecutive days is a breeding ground for injury so take the time to recover so that your muscles and connective tissues have the opportunity to repair.
3. Don’t train through pain. Listen to your body and don’t ignore the signals it’s trying to send you. If you are in a lot of pain then don’t just push through, sometimes your body is telling you to slow down. Discomfort is fine, pain is not.
4. Warm up and stretch. Warming up your muscles is a great step to injury prevention and it can also improve your performance. Follow your warm up with stretching and then some exercises that are specific to your sport. Last, but certainly not least, is the cool down, as the name suggests this is about cooling your body down so it returns to its normal temperature.
5. Cross train Consider incorporating some different activities into your weekly workout schedule. Cross training can help prevent injuries, keep boredom at bay and increase your overall fitness. Try to combine different types of exercise such as cardio (running), strength (free weights) and flexibility (yoga).
6. Get the right gear. Having the right equipment when you train is really important, if you’re a runner then this might be shoes that support your running style, if you’re a team sport player this might be essential equipment to protect your body.
7. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate .We lose water when we exercise so it’s very important to replace it. Your goal should be to remain hydrated throughout the whole day, rather than just gulping down a bottle after exercise. Sports drinks can be useful if your training at a high intensity for longer than an hour, however if you’re just going for a short walk then stick to water.
See your doctor if the pain persists or doesn’t go away within a day or two.
See your therapist if treatment is recommended.