The following are tips on injury avoidance for athletes, gleaned from a number of physical therapy professionals.
1. Engage in pre-activity warmups. Go a step beyond stretching for 30 seconds for warmups by engaging in active movements that mimic your chosen activity and raise body temperature.
2. Get a physical checkup. Regular physical checkups, particularly before starting a new sports season, can help you identify potential health concerns and develop the right exercise or training schedule. In addition, your doctor can help determine where your body’s strengths and weaknesses lie.
3. Be aware of bad form. Compensating for muscular weakness or incorrect performance of an exercise can overload muscles and result in overuse injuries. Correcting improper form relieves stress from muscles.
4. Stay hydrated. Dehydration can be a serious issue and increases the risk of other injuries, including pulled muscles and heatstroke. In addition, even a slight two percent drop in hydration level can affect physical performance.
5. Pace yourself. Avoid overtaxing your body and doing more than it can handle. Training should begin slow and build gradually over time as you push your limits, but take caution not to push yourself too far.
6. Invest in proper athletic gear. Make sure your shoes and clothing are a good match for the activity you’re engaging in. Consider researching what brands are best used for which sports, beginning with the right pair of shoes. Additionally, don’t use the same pair of specialty shoes for different sports.