Everything you need to know to avoid sports injuries

We all know being active is essential to a balanced and healthy lifestyle. But how do you ensure that lifestyle is also as injury-free as possible? We ask an expert    

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When you’re training or just like to be active, minor injuries can happen fairly regularly. But if you don’t take care or pay attention, you can be susceptible to a number of more serious, long-term issues.

Whether you’re a keen cyclist, runner, or you love to lift, there are many common injuries that can put you off your stride and lead to an enforced spell on the sideline.

So what are the most common injuries and how can you avoid feeling the strain?

Common complaints

Strains and sprains of joints and back problems are some of the most common sports-related injuries.

A sprain happens when a ligament tears or over stretches and can range from minor to complete tears, depending on the nature of the injury.

This can occur when stretching, landing or moving awkwardly, putting pressure on the ligaments in knees, ankles and wrists.

Strains, or pulled muscles, occur when the fibres within muscles or tendons stretch too far or tear, these can also be minor or much more severe.

“Backs are always the first complaint we hear of, followed very closely by knees and shoulders,” says Chris Wraithmell, head of fitness at Advantage Sports.

“Any issue left to manifest can very quickly develop into something serious.

“Typically issues will start in the muscle or connective tissue, which left can then start to affect the joints.

“Injuries typically don’t occur when people are physically in the gym, purely due to the small amount of time people spend there, however the gym can quickly exacerbate
any underlying problems.”

So what can be done to avoid injury when training?

“The most important thing anyone can do prior to starting exercise is to go through a proper warm up,” continues Chris.

“Preparing the body for what you are about to do to it is essential. Typically we will be lifting weights, running, cycling, jumping around and so we need to make sure our body is as ready for that as possible.

“Mobility, flexibility and dynamic movements as part of your warm up will allow the joints, muscles and connective tissue to ‘wake up’ prior to you stressing them through exercise.”

Know your limits

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When training it’s important to know your body and not push yourself too far or you can risk a major setback.

The phrase ‘no pain, no gain’ might be common, but injuries sustained due to stubbornness can cause serious problems with your body going forward.

“Anyone who tells you to push through the pain and discomfort is talking absolute rubbish,” advises Chris.

“I deal with the aftermath of these types of trainers on a daily basis. Basically fixing the body after years of not listening to it.

“If you are feeling pain, stop immediately. Training fatigue or a lactic acid accumulation in the muscles is not pain, it’s a discomfort and you need to know the difference.

“Lactic acid accumulation or training fatigue will reduce very quickly if you stop exercising, as oxygen will start to be recovered. Physical pain will not subside, and after you stop exercising, may actually get worse.

“If in doubt, just stop and ask someone to take a look.”

Time management

You might be trying to lose some weight gained over the summer, trim down for an upcoming event or just see some results fast, but when it comes to fitness, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Putting in too much time at the gym, putting your body under severe pressure and trying to do too much at once isn’t a smart long-term fitness strategy.

“It’s very easy to get carried away,” admits Chris. “If you are spending more than one hour in the gym every day, then you’re not training efficiently enough.

“Unless you’re training for a specific endurance event, which would require lengthened training sessions, or you’re an athlete, you shouldn’t be in the gym longer than one hour a day.

“You would be amazed at how little training stimulus the body needs to adapt and improve.

“Time is precious, don’t waste too much of it in the gym.”

For more information, visit: advantagesportsuae.com

WORDS Colin Armstrong

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