As we roll into the summer, we start to become very aware of how our new years resolution to get fit is drifting away. At TA Physio we see many clients who started fitness programs in the first few months, stop, then try again with injury or alarming pains. There are a few ways to help remove these undesired results and still get fit for the summer.
There are many reasons for injury, especially in sports with contact which result in direct trauma, but there are many internal reasons for injury too. These are things that you may not be aware of when you start your sport or activity, such as weak muscles, reduced range of movement and level of fitness (1).
Here are some tips to help reduce the risk of injury:
- Start small and build – Up to 40% of injuries in athletes are due to a rapid change in training(2). Even the fittest need time to adapt. People often decide to start a sport or activity from doing very little, to upwards of 3 to 4 times a week. This can be too much too soon for your body, it may not be able to deal with the new stresses and load. Getting fit is also about patience!
- The importance of a warm-up and cool-down – We all know the rush when you’ve only a short amount of time to do your workout and skip the warm-up/cool-down. Neglecting this can leave you prone to easily avoidable injuries (3). On the other side, stretching hasn’t been found to be effective in reducing the risk of injury(4) – but we know it feels good so no need to stop!
- Resistance Training – It is important to add strength and conditioning into your program to reduce the risk of injury. Resistance training once or twice a week is effective in reducing the risk of sports injuries by up to 1/3 and overuse injuries by 1/2 in active individuals(4).
- Rest – Probably one of the most important is making sure you have rest days, enough sleep and look after yourself. Sleep has been shown to improve memory, performance and reduce risk of injury (5). It is recommended that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep to get the full benefits(6). Recovery is just as important as the work itself.
Injury prevention is specific to each individual – with age, sex, fitness, general health, mobility, strength and previous injury all being risk factors (1).
Hopefully this has helped you think about what you might be neglecting, and given you a few ideas of what you can do to help keep yourself pain free.
Thanks for reading.
Aran qualified as a Physiotherapist graduating from the University of Worcester in 2017. He has since been working within the NHS, rotating into different specialities such as the Emergency Department, Critical Care, Orthopaedics and MSK. He has worked with people of all ages and different levels of health and fitness, encouraging exercise as an essential part of health and wellbeing and providing the best care for his patients.
Aran has a keen interest in soft tissue mobilisation and movement re-education as part of the rehabilitation process. He has an interest in sports injuries and has experience treating players and working with the strength and conditioning coaches under the physio in Worcester County Cricket Club.
- Murphy DF, Connolly DAJ, Beynnon BD Risk factors for lower extremity injury: a review of the literature British Journal of Sports Medicine 2003;37:13-29.
- Gabbett TJ, The training—injury prevention paradox: should athletes be training smarter and harder?British Journal of Sports Medicine 2016;50:273-280.
- Herman K, Barton C, Malliaras P, et al, The effectiveness of neuromuscular warm-up strategies, that require no additional equipment, for preventing lower limb injuries during sports participation: a systematic review. BMC Med 2012;10:75.
- Lauersen JB, Bertelsen DM, Andersen LB The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials British Journal of Sports Medicine 2014;48:871-877.
- Roberts SSH, Teo W, Warmington SA Effects of training and competition on the sleep of elite athletes: a systematic review and meta-analysis British Journal of Sports Medicine 2019;53:513-522.
- Ohayon M ,Wickwire EM , Hirshkowitz M, et al, National sleep foundation’s sleep quality recommendations: first report. Sleep Health 2017;3:6–19.