If you’re getting ready to return to sports and intense physical activity, you may be wondering how your break from playing will impact your safety on the field. You must learn how to move your body during a game in a way that keeps you from getting hurt as you train. So, dropping that routine can take away the minute muscle memory that you developed in the past. For players who are moving from a sedentary to an active lifestyle, the chances of injury are high. Here are some tips on how to start playing a sport without hurting yourself so that you can play better and avoid a doctor’s bill.
Always Warm Up
As is the case for most tasks in life, you should always warm up before physical activity. Hydration and stretches play vital roles in injury prevention across all kinds of sports. Loosening your muscles helps protect them from impacts and extensions that could cause damage. Activating your body at a gentler pace by doing kicks, bends, and drills prepares you for more high-intensity movements overall.
Be Kind to Yourself
Most injuries don’t come from falls or contact. Players instead tend to overexert their bodies and put excessive demand on their muscles without proper training or care. Their goal is always to play their best game and achieve what their role models can on the court. But if you move at a pace faster than what you’ve trained for, you can do serious damage to yourself. If you haven’t played a sport or have taken a long break, be kind to yourself. Understand when you can’t comfortably do a movement or technique. Instead of pushing yourself over the edge, make it a goal to build up to that ability.
Know Your Sport
When you’re starting any sport, it’s impossible to know all of the ins and outs of the game. Still, an aspect of preventing injuries is correctly understanding the rules, movements, and pacing so that an accidental collision or pivot doesn’t result in a torn ACL or worse. For example, an endurance sport like tennis requires intermittent rest and recovery periods, while archery has its own unique tactics for injury prevention. Each sport has different expectations, so rely on other players to fill you in.
The tool you need to start playing a sport without hurting yourself is patience. Know that you will need to research, warm up, and accept your current abilities throughout the process if you want to prevent any injuries. The sport isn’t going anywhere, so take your time and respect your body as you play!