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Prevent Sports Injuries with These Seven Tips

Whether you’ve joined a softball league or are signing up for your next race, the possibility of injury from the sport is not often top of mind—though it probably should be. According to the National Safety Council, more than 7 million sports and recreational injuries resulted in emergency room visits in 2017, the latest year on record. Often, people become injured by doing too much too soon, not being informed on proper techniques and not being physically prepared for the level of intensity of a sport. Keep your body in check, and learn how to prevent sports injuries with these seven tips.

  1. Take breaks. Yes, it’s ok to take five. Taking short breaks during playtime can reduce your chance of injury, allow your muscles to rest and prevent heat-related illnesses.
  2. Wear the right shoes and appropriate gear. Beyond ensuring that your shoes are right for the activity, how they fit is dually important. Since feet swell during exercise, try shoes that are a little larger than the size you normally wear. Having about a half centimeter of space between your big toe and the end of the shoe is a good indicator of proper fit.
  3. Stretch and condition. Preparation is key in so many aspects of life, including physical activity. Be good to your body by stretching and conditioning. It increases flexibility and strengthens muscles. Plus, developing your balance and coordination can help mitigate the risk of ankle sprains.
  4. Follow proper techniques. Learning how to play correctly is so important. Whether it’s the correct stance, the right gait or even a specialized way of breathing, your body will thank you for being smart about the game.
  5. Stay hydrated. Dehydration results from the loss of fluid and electrolytes from sweat, causing fatigue, soreness, cramps and spasms. To support nerve and muscle function, always remember to keep water on hand.
  6. Warm up and cool down. Wake up your muscles and tissues with a warm up. It dilates your blood vessels, supplying much-needed oxygen to your muscles. A cool down is just as important, as it allows your heart rate to slowly come down to normal and decreases the risk of cramping and stiffness.
  7. Don’t push it. If you already have an injury or are feeling pain while playing, stop. By not letting your body to heal properly, you’re risking a more serious injury and longer recovery.

Get out there and have fun, but always remember to check with your doctor before you begin a new sports routine.

Sources: National Safety Council, American Academy of Pediatrics

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