We can never predict when an injury is likely to occur, but with the right preparation and precautions, we may be able to reduce our risks. As a Sports Medicine physician, I advise my patients to follow the steps below:
- Warm up. Do a dynamic warm up to loosen the muscles and increase blood flow to prepare them for activity. This involves using active movements to warm up and stretch the muscles (walking lunges, bench press with just the bar, jumping jacks, jump rope, etc.) and ideally, focuses on whatever movements you will be using during your desired activity. Static stretching of cold muscles can decrease strength and stability and as a result, increase risk of injury.
- Good hydration prior to, during and after activity helps decrease risk of heat illness and microscopic damage to muscle fibers. Both of which lead to increased fatigue, post workout muscle soreness, and possible injury.
- Cool down. A light jog and static stretching can help bring the body back down to a normal state, decrease muscle soreness, aid in recovery, and improve flexibility.
- Rest. Proper rest allows for your body to recover after activity. Lack of appropriate rest can lead to possible fatigue, pain, and diminished performance.
- Listen to your body. Pain, fatigue and other symptoms are ways your body tells you that something is not right. Be aware of these warning signs to maintain safe participation in activity.
While exercise and activity is great for the body, inadequate preparation can easily lead to injury. Be smart about your exercise, seek a physician’s advice when needed, and have fun!
To learn more about Dr. Carpio-Bracho at Hoag Medical Group, visit JoinHMG.com/Sports.