Protect Yourself From These Common Sports-Related Injuries

Getting in enough physical exercise is important for our health. Yet, whether that physical activity involves working out at the gym or participating in sports, it’s important not to overdo it. Pushing yourself can lead to common, yet painful injuries. Being aware of ways to avoid these injuries can help you stay safe, while pursuing your fitness or sports goals.

Head injuries

These types of injuries are more common in competitive team sports and include everything from traumatic brain injuries to incidences of TMJ. Trauma to the jaw or skull is generally responsible for swelling or a fracture of the bone of the skull in both these types of injuries. That’s why regulations for contact sports, such as football or hockey, set guidelines for wearing face and head protection. While some types of sports don’t require this type of protection, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a risk of a head injury. For instance, TBI incidences are still common in sports like basketball and soccer, even though the players don’t wear helmets or mouth guards. In any physically active sport, it’s wise to consider wearing a helmet or similar protection to protect your face and head.

Neck Pain

When the neck becomes misaligned, it can cause pain that won’t seem to go away, but this isn’t necessarily due to an injury. In fact, it can begin in the office, while you’re working at you desk. Your neck becomes misaligned through poor posture, but the pain can really intensify later, when you hit the gym. It can become a bigger problem as you lay on the weight bench, if you don’t ensure your neck and upper back are fully supported against the pad. Doing lifts that force you to raise your hands over your head can really aggravate the condition. To strengthen these muscles, do reverse shrugs with the lateral pull down bar, adjusting the weight to a comfortable level. Just pull the bar down to 3-4 inches in front of you.

Lower Back Strain

This is a common injury at the gym, especially with those who don’t practice a proper form. Like the neck, the back relies on proper posture and, when it doesn’t get that support, it can cause a strain in the lower back. A sharp pain, while doing squats can be an indication that you’ve put a strain on your back. To prevent this type of strain, practice working with your neutral back posture, before you begin lifting or doing squats. By laying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, you can experience your natural posture. Get comfortable with this posture, before advancing your workout.

Stress Fractures

These a tiny, hairline cracks in the bones of the lower legs, shins, and feet. Generally, they are caused by performing a repetitive motion too excessively, or they can be caused by overexertion. Symptoms of stress fractures include sharp, shooting pain in the foot and shins, making it difficult to walk. Jumping, running, walking, and even standing still can cause the pain to grow worse and the area around the shin and ankle may swell. To prevent stress fractures, start slowly and increase the intensity of your workouts gradually. Each week, you can boost your workout safely by 10%, giving your body time to adjust and build muscle.

Sprained Ankle

This is common in every sport, among runners, and also in gym workouts. This often happens when you’re running and not paying attention to your footing. A misstep can cause your foot to twist beneath you, bending the ankle in an awkward position. The best way to prevent sprains is to run or jog on flat, even surfaces. If you’re on the treadmill, don’t forget to wear the clip that will stop the machine if you lose your balance. Outdoors, try to stay on concrete when running, as natural trails may be uneven and littered with branches and rocks.

Staying safe is important during any physical activity. To that end, be sure to wear the proper protective equipment and follow safety guidelines for that activity. While getting a good workout is your goal, overdoing it can lead to accidents and injuries that may leave you sidelined.

 

5 Reasons Why Warm Up Exercises Are Important

 

The importance of warmup exercises should be considered by anybody who works out. Although warmups probably won’t help much with burning calories or building muscle, they’re crucial to the success of a workout! Before you even think about running or using the machines at the gym, you ought to make sure you complete a warm up and do a few stretches – but what makes them so important? 

1 . They help to increase body and muscle temperature 

A good warm-up will raise your body temperature, which is particularly helpful to your muscles. As your muscle temperature increases, oxygen becomes more available to your muscles, allowing them to contract and relax more easily – so you’ll be able to perform more strenuous tasks with ease. Your heart is also given a chance to prepare, meaning it won’t be too strained during your workout. 

2 . You’ll reduce your risk of injury  

The last thing you need when you’ve been faithfully attending the gym and reaching your goals is to become injured. Warming up will improve muscle elasticity and allow for efficient cooling, meaning less chance of accidentally hurting yourself or overheating during your workout and ruining your day! 

3. They can help you to mentally prepare 

Jumping straight into a workout without being adequately prepared can throw you off completely, especially if the preparation is mental rather than physical. It’s easy to give up when working out gets difficult, but you’ll be much less likely to do so if you’ve given yourself time to remember why you’re working out. Use your time warming up to think about what you’re about to do, guaranteeing that both your body and mind will be ready to succeed. 

4. You’ll increase your flexibility, which will help with other exercise 

Stretching is often considered something that should be done in addition to regular warmups. Stretching will increase blood flow to your muscles, and allow your body to increase its flexibility in both the short and long-term – always a plus when it comes to properly performing a workout. Stretch after you’ve already completed your warm up, as stretching when your muscles aren’t properly warm can lead to injury. 

5. You’ll be ready to tackle the heavy-duty machines at the gym 

Using machines to help build muscle is a great way to spend your time at the gym, but they shouldn’t be used before you’ve had a chance to loosen your joints! Warming up will ensure that both your body and mind are in the right state to handle gym equipment, again reducing your risk of injury.  

 

As well as a good warm-up, workout preparation should also involve ensuring that you have suitable equipment for the exercises you’ll be doing. Crossfit, for example, can be enhanced by the use of accessories; particularly helpful for its Workouts of the Day are resistance bands and palm guards. 

Popular warm-up exercises you might like to try include jogging on the spot for several minutes, cycling, or even simply performing your workout at a much slower pace to prepare your body. For your stretches, try static stretching, which involves stretching a muscle slowly and holding it in place for up to thirty seconds. 

The benefits of warming up are evident, and warm ups will help you to achieve your goals at the gym; it’s therefore clear that warm-up exercises should not be overlooked by gymgoers at any level. Once you’ve prepared your body and mind and done some stretching, you’ll be ready to make the most of your workout!