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Warming Up for Fall Sports
With fall sports kicking into high gear, it’s a good time to keep in mind some simple ways to prevent you or your athlete from some common sports injuries.
While getting ready to hit the fields in the fall, make sure to stretch first. Stretching is an important part of playing any sport for a few reasons; it can help minimize injuries and muscle imbalance, and improve your overall performance. So, whether you are signing up for football, soccer, cheerleading, or track, remember these injury prevention tips and stretches to avoid any aches and pains that could lead to a sports-related injury.
Here are tips on how to prevent fall sports injuries
- Players should always make sure they are wearing the right sports gear. This means protective equipment such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and properly-fitting eyewear. Remember that protective gear will not prevent all injuries while performing riskier activities.
- Strengthen your muscles with conditioning exercises during practice as it can strengthen muscles used in play.
- Make sure you are using the proper technique that you were taught at practice. This is something that should always be reinforced at every practice and during the playing season.
- Increase your flexibility with stretching exercises after games or practice. Stretching should also be incorporated into a daily fitness plan.
- You should plan to take time off. Having at least one day off per week and at least one month off per year from training for a particular sport will allow your body to fully rest and recover.
- If you are feeling any kind of pain, whether it’s minimal or strong, you should stop the activity immediately.
- Don’t be afraid to take breaks. Resting periods during practice and games can reduce injuries and prevent heat illness.
- You can avoid heat injury by drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise or play. You can decrease your chance of overheating by wearing light clothing or ask your coach to stop practices or games during high heat/humidity weather.
- Always play safe. Make sure to play by the rules of each sport.
Common Stretching Techniques
- Arm circles
- Leg swings; Forward and back and sideways
- Leg curls
- Neck and trapezius
- Lower back stretch
- Hamstring stretch
- Back rotation stretch
- Calf stretch
- Hip flexor stretch
It’s important to make sure you follow these safety tips when practicing or playing a fall sport this year. If you’re hurt or suspect an injury, speak to your coach or athletic trainer as soon as possible. Don’t wait to see if your injury gets better. For more information about the prevention of fall sports injuries, and how Access Physical Therapy & Wellness can help, contact your nearest location today.