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By Columnist Michael Meredith – Athletic Coach:

Track and Field Athletes Competing
Photo Credit: Phil Roeder 2011 – Track and Field Athletes

In my time coaching athletes and clients, rarely have I come across an athlete or individual who has not suffered form of sports injuries. Unfortunately, when it comes to sports injuries, injury potential starts from a genetic level. So some athletes and individuals are more prone than others to injuries or being injured. This weakness is usually due to weaker bone structures, weak tendons and ligament makeup or many other physiological factors. However, as we do not know what our risk level is to injury, it is important that we take precautions. These measures then ensure that we protect ourselves from both minor and serious sports injuries when both training and competing.

Five Ways to Avoid Sports Injuries Using Injury Prevention Techniques

You MUST think about using injury prevention measures no matter what sport you play or the type of activity that you do. Following these measures will allow you to minimise the risk of sports injuries.

Five key elements to avoiding sports injuries by following injury prevention methods are as follows:

1. Warm Up and Dynamic Stretching

In modern lifestyles we are all time poor, so warming up is one of the most neglected elements. Therefore, therefore generating the highest risks of injury when not taken seriously. If you take part in a sport that requires explosive movement or rapid changes in speed and direction, and you don’t warm up adequately, then you are an injury waiting to happen. A simple 5-minute easy jog increases blood flow and body temperature activates muscles significantly improves range of movement (ROM) and mobility. After your 5-minutes, it’s time to do Dynamic Stretching (stretching in motion) – walking lunges, legs swings, and shoulder rotations. These stretches will activate all of your working muscles and set you up for improved performance and lower the risk of injury. When lifting weights, your best warm-up is just using the movement pattern you will do during your workout. You can either use lighter weights or use bodyweight at a higher intensity. Doing dynamic stretches between sets is also advised.

2. Cool Down and Static Stretching

Just like warming up, you must go through a cooling down process and allow the body to recover effectively. A Cooldown is as simple as a 5-minute walk, before moving into a static stretching process. Static Stretches are holding a muscle in a particular place for 15-30 seconds. This stretch is then repeated twice before moving to the next muscle. This process allows the central nervous system to recover from high levels of activity; the muscle fibres can relax, and a greater rate of muscle recovery will follow. Therefore, you set yourself up for less delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and better recovery.

3. Nutrition and Hydration

There is a famous saying – “you are what you eat” – which is true. We are the result of the nutrients we absorb from our food. On a much deeper scale, the better the quality of your food, the better quality of your nutrients. Good quality nutrients lead to healthier cells and a much more efficient and stronger body function and structure. Hydration is also a key element in keeping your cells hydrated and clean. You’ll flush out toxins and keep healthy by drinking more water.

When injured it is instinctive for you to relax. You will typically eat bad food and try to escape from the depression of injury. You may even drink alcohol. However, it is far better that you eat better foods and drink less alcohol, so your body can heal faster. Your recovery from injury will be less.

4. Mobility and Stretching

FOAM rolling or SMR is straightforward and effective. Plus, it is one of the best injury prevention tools. Make sure you do some static stretching after using the foam roller, as this will reduce your likelihood of injury.

ACTIVE rest days are also ‘a must’. So spend 45-minutes stretching; your body will thank you for it. This approach will increase your performance. Not only that, but you will also feel amazing after a great stretching session.

5. Listen to Your Body

The greatest tool we have is our body. Evolution has seen us adapt over centuries, and the ability our body has to tell us when something is wrong is amazing. My advice, DO NOT IGNORE IT.

So often athletes argue with their body. They ignore the warning signs and think they know better. To understand the difference between Muscle Fatigue and Muscle Injury, and stop if something doesn’t feel right. If any pain persists without signs of improvement, then seek professional advice.

In conclusion, you need to protect your body from sports injuries. You only get one body in a lifetime, so look after it. PREVENTION will always be better than a CURE. So don’t wait until you get injured to start fixing problems by using injury prevention techniques. Remember to train smarter, not harder, for better results.

InShape Insight

Work with the Right Pros – If you want to prevent injuries and bounce back from them faster, you need to make sure you have the right medical professionals around you. When you get an injury, go to your trusted doctor. If your back is causing you pain as a result of the sport you’re playing, work alongside a chiropractor to improve the situation. The same applies to whatever other situation you’re dealing with.

About Our Athletic News and Review Columnist – Michael Meredith

Michael Meredith

Michael Meredith, Master Personal Trainer, Elite Obstacle Racer, Former Sydney A-grade rugby league player, Runner, and all-round health enthusiast, is the Founder of Aussie Athletes Health and Performance. As a coach, Michael’s philosophy is to focus on health and performance. His 12-week training programs for men and women, include strength and fitness, OCR (or obstacle course racing) and recreational running. Micheal aims to narrow the gap between strength training and aerobic endurance so that his clients’ can balance the two effectively to create the fittest, healthiest version of themselves.

“After more than 5-years as a Personal Trainer, I have helped celebrities, recreational athletes make it all the way to an élite level of fitness. In addition, I have annually sponsored two ‘everyday athletes’ as a mentor. This give one male and one female the opportunity to take on certain events throughout the year under the guidance of the #teamaussieathletes community.”

“My major focus as a trainer is to complete an exercise science degree and turn my Aussie Athletes business into a community based-group that operates out of its own head-quarters. Aussie Athletes Health and Performance is now operated via two of Australia’s premier Fitness First Platinum Clubs in Sydney Australia, these being in Park Street Platinum and Bondi Platinum.

Disclaimer: The author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion form the basis of this column. This information and opinion are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.


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