Sports are a great way to get anyone into the spirit of team-building, lengthen and increase quality of life through physical exercise, and increase one’s ability to be determined, strong, and healthy overall. Sports can be played as part of a team, as with football, soccer, basketball, and other sports involving more people. Sports can also be done alone, such as gymnastics and golf. Whatever sport someone decides to do, one thing is for certain: safety should come first.
When playing sports and making time to exercise, it can be frustrating to balance everything, especially if you play sports as part of a professional team. Over 65 million Americans are trying to balance the daily demands of work, home, children, social responsibilities, and providing care for someone who is disabled, ill, incapacitated, or aging, making it so that plates are full. It’s important to not take any shortcuts to save time while playing sports and engaging in exercise.
What is Sports Safety?
Safety in sports and exercise ranges from not just self-care before and after playing in a big sporting event, but also stretching, icing and heating muscles, and having a healthy diet to restore muscles and strength. Unfortunately, due to limited time, not everyone engages in these healthy sports safety habits. This leads to increases in injuries, burnout, and even stress. This is the opposite of what sports are supposed to do – which is to give you an outlet for stress and even relief from mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Because of this, safety and prevention and treatment of sports injuries is paramount.
How do I Practice Safety?
We mentioned several things already for the prevention and treatment of sports injuries. From treating specific injuries to preparing adequately for a sporting event, and seeking the right medical care, preparing for sports is essential to any serious athlete. It might seem complex, but it’s extremely simple and easy to have safety in mind while playing sports. If you’re an amateur athlete, a seasoned pro, or are simply curious about starting to play sports, it’s important to be as safe as possible when exercising no matter your skill level. Here are 15 tips you can use to stay safe, and for the prevention and treatment of sports injuries.
1. Get Cleared by a Doctor
Before starting any exercise or workout routine, it’s important to first and foremost get cleared by a doctor. One of the most important parts of the prevention and treatment of sports injuries is the prevention aspect! Getting cleared by a doctor can allow you to know what level of sports you can compete in if you have any pre-existing conditions that can cause you to get an injury, and also to encourage you and let you know how you can best start a sport. If you’re joining a sports team in high school, high school sports physicals can are sometimes required even though you’re young. Some doctors might even recommend certain sports, such as swimming or cycling, that are easy on the joints if you’re older. Always get a clear understanding and picture of your health before starting any sport or exercise.
2. Buy the Right Equipment
You wouldn’t buy a cruiser bicycle to ride in mountain terrain. Similarly, it’s important to purchase the right equipment before playing sports for the prevention and treatment of sports injuries. For instance, if you’re playing baseball or softball, proper baseball mitts and helmets should never be replaced with ball-caps and regular gloves. Running, weight-lifting, cycling, even basketball all require proper sports equipment. Failing to get the proper equipment can increase your chances of getting hurt, and most of all take away from the fun of the sport. Visit your local sporting goods store to get the best equipment and advice for beginners.
3. Wear the Proper Clothes
When doing sports such as swimming, cycling, even running, properly fitted clothes are essential for the prevention and treatment of sports injuries. Properly fitted clothes can help prevent, for instance, chaffing and rashes associated with sweat and long-distance running. Similarly, wearing loose clothes is good for some sports to allow you to be more mobile, such as hockey. Talk to your teammates about what clothes they prefer to use when playing, or check out some team-ware for the sports that you play online.
When playing sports, exercising, or doing any strenuous activity in general, it’s important to hydrate and drink plenty of water. When you hydrate and drink water, you’re able to prevent serious injuries such as heat cramps and heatstroke. It’s important to not simply drink regular sports drinks, though they can help replace electrolytes lost through sweat. A good combination of both can help replace your minerals while keeping you hydrated healthily with water. If you don’t like traditional sports drinks, another good option to prevent overheating is coconut water, which has less sugar, is all-natural, and has electrolytes as well.
5. Carry a Mini First-Aid Kit
When on the court or elsewhere, you might suddenly get an injury you didn’t expect. In these instances, the best prevention and treatment of sports injuries is to get treated with a first-aid kit as soon as possible. Carrying a first-aid kid with you can be a simple, yet effective way to stop bleeding. Put a cold-pack and wrap the injury. These can even help bandage up simple cuts and bumps. If you have asthma or are prone to having an allergic reaction, you should also carry with you things such as your inhaler and your epi-pen. When dealing with sports injuries, it’s important to be more prepared than not. Your mini first-aid kit can be done with home care medical supplies, such as ice and heating packs, bandages, band-aids, scissors, gauze, tape, and all medications you might need.
6. Seek Medical Care ASAP
We’ve all been taught that when we fall to get back up and keep playing the sport. However, sometimes doing this can do more harm than good, and can end up making an injury worse in the long run. The most important part of the prevention and treatment of sports injuries is getting help from a trained medical professional as soon as possible. For instance, one of the most common sports injuries is that of a sprained ankle. Sprained ankles have different grades, ranging from grade 1, grade 2, and grade 3 sprains. A trained foot and ankle specialist can help determine what type of sprain you have, how severe it is, and how you can best treat it at home or in the hospital. In addition, simply walking off a sprain puts you at risk of weakening your ligaments and getting another sprain. This is just one example of a sports injury, but many more abound.
Stretching might seem like a boring part of exercise, and most people might skip this important step and go straight into playing their sport or exercising. However, a key to the prevention and treatment of sports injuries is to stretch the muscles to allow them to prepare for exercise to prevent injuries. This is especially important for a high-intensity exercise or sport. You can even combine stretching with meditation, and use air purifiers combined with essential oils to relax before exercising at home or preparing for a sporting event.
8. Do Cool-Down Exercises
After exercising, you might be tempted to simply end your workout or sports session without doing cool-down exercises. However, you should never end your workout or exercise session without doing a proper cool-down. Like stretching in the beginning, stretching at the end of your sporting event allows you to regulate blood flow and get your blood pressure and heart rate down in a healthy way. In addition, stretching can also help prevent being sore the next morning by preventing lactic acid build-up in your muscles. Lactic acid is credited for being the cause of having sore muscles, and besides cool-down exercises, a hot shower can help prevent lactic acid from crystalizing and making you super sore. If you plan on taking a hot bath after your cool-down exercises, eucalyptus oil soap can help relax you as well.
9. Get Massages
If you’re a competitive athlete, play sports a lot with teammates or alone, or simply want another way to help release stress, a massage can help you with the prevention and treatment of sports injuries. Massages allow reduce muscle tension, monitor muscle tone, increase range of motion, and improve soft tissue function to lessen the likelihood of muscular injuries. Using a sports massage wax can help increase the effect of the massage, and help relax you as well!
10. Take Care of Pain
Pain, especially from an old injury, chronic pain, or generalized pain can all pose serious risks if they are not treated before starting a sport. Sports put a lot of pressure on our bodies, and if you’re playing with pain for any reason, you can put yourself at a high risk of obtaining another injury or worsening your pain. Some exercises, such as yoga and swimming, can actually help the pain. However, using remedies for your pain can make a huge difference in the prevention and treatment of sports injuries. Pain-medication, physical therapy, and any other medical remedies by your care provider can all help. If you feel you still have trouble with pain, using cbd infused skin care has been shown to reduce pain in some people. There’s no shame in using both traditional eastern medicine combined with modern western methods to treat pain. Keep in mind to always use the help of CBD shops that have proper dispensary certifications for your pain management needs.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the most common injuries obtained during sports is that of a sprained ankle. To treat sprained ankles, using the RICE method can be very effective. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This means to rest your injured ankle, ice it to reduce swelling, compress it using bandages or compression socks, and elevate it to encourage blood flow. You can do this by laying your foot on top of a chair, on your bed, and keep it above your heart whenever possible. This is all great for ankle injuries, but did you know that RICE can be beneficial for injured wrists, hands, and any other muscle sprains? What’s important to remember also is to use RICE as soon as possible (within 24-48 hours after), and continue to rest, ice, compress, and elevate your injury so long as your doctor recommends. This might seem silly, especially if your injury appears to be healing or there’s no pain present. However, using RICE can help you fully heal sooner than later.
12. Work Around Injuries
When playing sports or exercising, you might be tempted to start exercising again after obtaining your injury. However, for the prevention and treatment of sports injuries, it’s crucial to not put any weight or pressure on your injury to prevent further injuring yourself. This is true even if you were injured in an outside personal injury, such as an accident. If you play sports for a living, contacting an affordable insurance broker can help answer questions on what you can do to work around your injury, compensation, and other resources to help you while you recover.
13. Avoid Lifting with your Back
More and more people are starting to lift weights and practice competitive lifting as a sport. Lifting weights is an excellent sport and exercise, and can be just as effective as cardio. Unfortunately, this also brings up a second common injury, that of an injured back. Whenever dead-lifting or picking up weights, always remember to never lift with your back. Instead, squat and use your leg muscles to lift weights off the ground. Wearing a back brace can also be helpful.
14. Work with a Personal Trainer/Coach
If you’ve just started playing sports or exercising, having a trainer to coach and develop your skills can help you physically to get acclimated and improve your skills in the sport. Using a coach and trainer can also help you to achieve the best outcome for the team you play on, so listen to your coaches and trainers to not just keep you, but your team safe as well.
15. Have a Good Diet
Not having a healthy diet can have serious health consequences, and this is especially true when playing sports. Always eat the proper amount of protein and nutrients to maintain optimum health, and never skip meals especially during heavy exercise or sporting events. Take care of your body by fueling it with lots of vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins.