Some tips for injury prevention in summer sports
Rehab Physical Therapist at Grand River Health
School is out for summer, the sun is blazing, and kiddos are excited for all of their summer sports activities. Whether you or your son or daughter is attending basketball camps, playing baseball or softball, or trying new tricks on the wakeboard, every active person is at risk for injury this summer. This, of course, should not stop you from participating! My dad always told me, “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” Now, he is a computer engineer, not a physical therapist, but I think we can apply this wisdom to sports as well.
I want to chat a little bit about what “Proper Prior Planning Prevents INJURY” looks like for summer athletes. Most injuries will occur due to fatigue. The more fatigued our bodies are, the more likely an injury will occur. When planning to participate in an athletic event make sure to prepare by doing a couple easy things. One, pack lots of water. How much water? Any easy way to live is this: “if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.” During the high temps this summer, start your day with at least 20 ounces of water in the morning, and continue sipping throughout the day.
Two, remember that food is fuel. These days many folks eat for pleasure, but active people really need to eat to stay energized. Pack healthy food this summer; include lots of fresh fruits and veggies from your local farmers market, grill up some of your elk, and keep the processed sugars to a minimum. Processed sugars give you a sudden energy burst, but you end up becoming extremely lethargic quickly after consuming them. Instead, eat energy sustaining carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, rice and the fruits and veggies I’ve already mentioned. Doing these things will delay your fatigue and reduce your risk of injury.
Dynamic stretching is another key to injury prevention. Dynamic stretching means you are stretching while moving. If you are planning any high intensity activity I suggest you spend 10-15 minutes dynamic stretching prior to the activity. Simply go to YouTube and you will find plenty of informative videos to guide you through this layer of injury prevention.
Lastly, don’t be a couch potato! You cannot expect to sit around for six days, and then sprint to first at a softball game without injuring yourself. Get out and exercise 4-5 times per week. That doesn’t mean you have to go the gym. Go for a hike or walk, swim, ride your bike. I wish I could say fishing is exercise, but sadly, I can’t. Motion is lotion, opt outside and I know your body will thank you. Don’t be afraid of injury, simply properly prepare by staying hydrated, eating healthily, stretching before and after activities, and keep moving! You won’t regret it!
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