Tips for Avoiding Injury

Sportswoman stretching

Want to avoid an injury?

Live by this basic rule:  Don’t do more than your body can handle and recover from safely.

But there are things you can do to help prevent injury, from pre-activity warm-ups, paying attention to nutrition, and focusing on post-activity recovery.

Pre-Activity Warm-Ups

A pre-activity warm-up should not consist of a few stretches that are held for 30 seconds each.  Instead, consider active movements that closely mimic your activity and raise your body temperature.

Body weight lunges are a great example of a warm-up exercise that is active and closely mimics many athletic movements.

A foam roller is also a great way to warm-up.  Think of a rubber band with a knot tied in the middle, the band still stretches, just not as well as it did before the knot.  A foam roller helps loosen up the “knots” in the muscles to help them work more efficiently.

Nutrition Tips

Nutrition is a very hot topic today given all of the different plans you can consider.

Let’s start with consuming whole, non-processed foods.  Think about foods that grow out of the ground and the animals that roam the earth. Those are non-processed and offer you the nutrition and calories that will help you in your chosen activity, recovery and your daily life.

Focus on Recovery

You warm-up before activity and should recover from it when you are done. Recovery, like a warm-up, can include stretching and foam rolling.

The static stretches that you hold for 30 seconds after activity help you maintain your muscle’s length while a brief foam rolling session can act as a self-massage to relax the muscle.

Now what?

Now that you have all of this information, apply it to your current program to prevent any annoying setbacks.

Your body lets you know if something is going wrong, usually with the presence of aches or pains. By taking care of these small issues before they grow, you can avoid larger injuries.

It’s great to be strong and fast, however that strength does you no good if you have to sit on the sidelines or stop working out because you are injured.

Jared Howell is a Certified Athletic Trainer who works for Tidewater Physical Therapy in our Williamsburg clinic as well as Walsingham Academy in Williamsburg.