Tips for Prevention of Athletic Injuries
The best treatment for athletic injuries is prevention! There are many "easy" things you can do to protect yourself from athletic injuries. The following is a list of several helpful hints to use for the prevention of athletic injuries:
- Get a Physical. Always consult with a physician before beginning an exercise routine. It is important to give a complete medical history, no matter how insignificant the problem may seem. A physician should ask you about heart problems, dizzy spells, or current injuries. The physician should also check your heart, lungs, and joints for any problems. Remember the purpose of a pre-participation physical is to ensure your safety, not to keep you from participating in sports.
- Drink water. There are many injuries/illnesses related to dehydration (see Heat Illness Prevention). It is important to realize that as the temperature rises or the duration of the activity increases, so should your water consumption.
- Warm-up/Cool-down. This is often the "missed" portion of the workout. It is important to utilize a good stretching program before and after a workout. A stretch should not be painful and should be held for 15-20 seconds. Make sure you hold the stretch-no bouncing. During your warm-up period, raise the heart rate for a few minutes with a cardiovascular activity, such as jogging and bike riding, and then stretch. This is a good way to get a better stretch before your workout.
- Seek Help. Whenever you do not know or understand how to perform an exercise, ask for help. Make sure to ask qualified personnel instead of assuming the person beside you is doing the exercise correctly.
- Seek Treatment. Do not ignore the signs of an athletic injury. Make sure that you seek help immediately to prevent further injuries (see Tips for Treatment of Athletic Injuries).
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Last Reviewed: Jul 17, 2009