How to Reduce Your Risk of Sports Injuries
It may not be possible to prevent all injuries during exercise and athletic sports, but you can do a lot to
reduce your chance of a strain, sprain, concussion or other injury. Read our tips below to stay in optimal
What activities present a high risk of injury for athletes?
Your risk of sports-related injury depends on the activity itself and your physical condition.
•Contact sports present a higher risk of broken bones due to falls and collisions.
•Activities like tennis, softball, baseball and golf increase the risk of soft tissue shoulder injuries.
•Runners have an increased risk of suffering from knee or ankle conditions.
Your level and frequency can also affect your risk of injury. Recreational athletes who only participate in an
activity a couple of times per week are less likely to have a sports injury than competitive athletes who have
a demanding training schedule.
How to Prevent Sports Injuries
Do Sport-Specific Training
Aerobic and cardiovascular conditioning helps prevent injuries, but sports-specific training is also important.
Don’t expect to play yourself into shape. Perform specific exercises to build strength for your sport. For
•Do rotator cuff strengthening exercises if you take part in overhead sports like basketball or tennis.
•Perform quad and knee strengthening exercises if you are a cyclist or runner.
•Try ankle strengthening and stabilizing exercises if you play any sport that involves quick changes of
Warm-up and Stretch Properly
You can walk, jog, cycle or perform aerobic exercise for three to five minutes to warm up cold muscles.
Warm muscles are less prone to injury. Walking or jogging in place may be fine for some sports. In others, like
cycling/swimming, starting at a slow pace and then increasing your speed can work too. The right warm-up
activities will differ for each sport and activity.
And don’t forget to stretch. “Performing even a few simple stretches before you start working out can reduce your
risk of injury and improve your overall exercise performance,” Dr. Chen says. If you have a history of previous
injury to certain muscles or joints, warming up and stretching these areas is important to prevent repeat injury.
Stretching after exercise, while the muscles are warm and flexible, can help heal any microtears.
Create a Balanced Exercise Program
The most important thing you can do to prevent sports injuries as you get older is to ensure you’re
physically prepared for your chosen activity. To do this, engage in a consistent, balanced exercise program.
Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day. Try not to pack all your physical activity into
one or two days a week.
Include cardiovascular exercise (running, walking, cycling), strength training and balance/flexibility
exercises. Pay close attention to how you’re feeling while performing each activity – adjust your routine if
Include strength training to improve your physical conditioning and some form of yoga to help increase
your flexibility. Regular participation in yoga, tai chi, etc. helps improve balance. This decreases the risk of
falls in older people. Having good core strength as a result of these activities improves overall stability.
Learn Proper Form
If you’re starting a new sport or exercise routine, take the time to learn the proper form to prevent injuries.
Playing several sports or doing different workouts helps prevent overuse injuries, boredom and overtraining.
It may be time to adjust your training load if you experience more than three of these overtraining
• Muscle/body aches and/or soreness
• A sudden drop in performance
• Insomnia or excessive sleepiness
• Illness (from decreased immune function)
• Irritability and moodiness (more than usual)
• Decreased appetite
• Weight loss
• Increased resting heart rate
• Decrease in heart rate variability
• A substantial drop in intensity
• Loss of enthusiasm for training
Stop When You Are Exhausted
A lot of people use exercise as a mechanism to de-stress but ironically, if you are overly committed to these
activities, you’ll start to experience stress anyways. Getting your ass kicked every workout may seem
effective, but progress comes with rest. Many athletes don’t take full advantage of rest—and therefore
experience burnout and fatigue. Many of us assume a workout’s success is equal to our level of exhaustion.
This over compensatory thinking tends to pop up for people who got into fitness in adulthood. Just like
everything in life, moderation is necessary in exercise, too.
If you’re training, you need time to recover. A rest day will allow your body to get some extra rest and not
only prevent overtraining but burn out as well. If you’re constantly thinking about a day of from training
because you’re sore, dragging and hungry, listen to your body. Take a training break before you’re forced to
take time of due to injury.
Wear Proper Gear
This includes a helmet when you’re biking, skiing, snowboarding or inline skating, and protective eyewear for
high-risk sports such as baseball and hockey.
Wear Appropriate Footwear
Your feet are subjected to severe pressure during strenuous exercise. The proper sport-specific shoes can
cushion the load and reduce injuries. Alternate wearing your new and old shoes to get your body used to the
new support and gradually phase out the old pair. Shoe shock absorption is lost after 250 miles of use.
Runners who jog 10 miles per week or more should replace their shoes every nine to 12 months.
If you would like to learn more about chiropractic care and how we can help you, give us a call today!
For questions or comments contact:
Dr. Fred Dietzen
Evoke Spinal Care
140 Gregory Lane, Suite 195
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
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