The last thing anyone wants is to be laid up for weeks or months with a sports injury. You want to enjoy your sport, not your sofa and a pack of ice.
Although there is no fool-proof way to avoid all issues when you’re active, you can reduce your risks.
- Nix the idea of just trying to be a “weekend warrior,” cramming a week’s worth of activity into a day or two. Instead, get activity throughout the week.
- Don’t “wing it” with new activities. Learn your sport and how to do it the right way. Seriously. Just as there are infinite ways to swing a golf club, there are just as many ways to perform almost any sport well and with agility. And with the proper information, training, and form, you will reduce your risk of injuries that can sideline you fast.
- Get any recommended safety gear for your sport. Depending on the activity, it could mean knee or wrist pads, protective eye wear, a mouth guard, and/or a helmet. Even something as simple as running means getting the right gear. Your shoes, for example, are best fitted by a professional who knows running shoes. Not having the right gear can spell disaster straight out of the gate.
- Accept when your body has said, “enough.” Realize that any new sport or activity requires conditioning muscles and joints. If you’re older, realize you may not be the same athlete you were 10 or 20 years ago. Tweak activities to meet your body’s limits, if needed.
- Don’t add too much activity, too soon. That’s one sure-fire path straight to the sidelines. So, if you are walking 2 miles daily, for example, don’t jump to 6 a day. Instead, increase your exercise level gradually. For runners and walkers of any age, 10 percent more each week is considered a safe level to increase distance or time. The other factor in the mix is intensity. If you go fast one day, that’s like adding miles and minutes to your workout.
- Whatever your activity, shoot for a workout that includes aerobic, strengthening, and flexibility exercises. And if you vary your activities (i.e., cross-train), you can reduce your injury risks while hitting greater levels of genuine fitness.