Sports are the best form of exercise out there. They combine camaraderie and fun with physical activity, and also often work most of the body to allow you to work out as much as possible without having to do repetitive lifts or laps. Unfortunately, with all of the positives that come with sports, a lot of negatives pile up. Most games bring the risk of some injury.
If you, or a loved one, are really into competing in a sport and want to avoid getting hurt, here are the best ways to do so.
Wear Protective Equipment
Wearing a helmet for tag football might be overkill, but you should think about what protective equipment is needed for whatever sport you’re playing. Knee and elbow pads are necessary for volleyball, and shin guards can keep your legs healthy during soccer. Look around online for what protective gear is required for whatever sport you’re playing, and then follow through and use it. If not, you will leave yourself open to a lot of damage.
Stretch Ahead of Time
Take your time stretching and warming up before you play a sport. Work through the portions of your body you’ll be using to play, and make sure you’ll move comfortably while competing. If you don’t stretch, you run the risk of sore or overexerted muscles that will keep you from moving smoothly and lead to further injury.
Give your body enough time to recover during the game. Take a break at least once every half hour to recover and recharge. This step could mean spending five minutes on the sideline drinking water, or sitting out for a round so that you don’t run yourself ragged. If you overexert yourself to prove something, you might injure yourself to the point that you won’t be able to compete again.
Don’t Play Through Pain
We’ve all sprained an ankle or twisted our wrists. It may seem tempting to play through the pain, so you don’t let your team down, but that would be a huge mistake. Give yourself a couple of minutes after you’re injured to assess the wound and see if you’re okay. If it hurts bad enough to make every movement painful, sit out the rest of the game. It’s better to have to sit out one game to recover than it would be to have to miss multiple games by causing yourself permanent damage. When the game is over, get yourself checked out if the pain is severe enough. Getting a rotator cuff injury test that turns out negative is better than being injured and letting it fester.
Play With People Who Follow The Rules of The Game
Play sports with people that you trust can play the game respectfully. When following the rules of most sports, it’s harder to get hurt or to hurt others. Good sportsmanship means that the other players will respect your body and won’t actively try to do you any harm if you’re winning or if they want to cheat. Play with that same level of respect for them, and follow the rules of whatever game you play.