Post contributed by Karleen Scase
As athletes we are continually putting stress on our bodies to perform. We have expectations from our body but what are we doing to reduce the stress and prevent injury? Being sidelined by an injury is something we all fear as athletes, below are a few suggestions to mitigate this risk.
Warm up/Cool down
A lot of us are “mature” athletes and our bodies respond differently. A warm up and cool down should be a part of every session, regardless of time restrictions. A warm up gradually increases your heart rate and circulation, this will loosen the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles. This will reduce muscle soreness and risk of injury. The cool down allows the body to smoothly transition back to a steady state of rest. It allows the body to slowly reduce lactic acid build up and helps the muscles prepare for the next session. If short on time reduce the main set to guarantee proper warm up /cool downs are incorporated.
Rolling is a form of release that increases blood flow to your muscles and creates better mobility aiding in recovery. Stretching post workout lengthens the muscles to maintain flexibility and a healthy range of motion on the joints. If we set aside 10 minutes daily our body will thank us in the long run.
Just because we exercise regularly it doesn’t give us free reign to eat whatever we want. Fuelling properly not only helps us get through our training sessions but it also allows our body to repair and get us ready for the next session. See our nutrition blogs by Barb Bryan for more insight.
Rest is just as important as working out. It’s an equal part of the process required to build strength, endurance and muscle. Rest days prevent overuse which reduces risk of injury. Sleep is also an important part of the process. It assists in the repairing and rebuilding process of the muscles post workout.
Water is an essential nutrient for athletes and is important to prevent injury. Water is your body’s vehicle to transport antibodies, protein, nutrients, hormone and oxygen through the blood and lymphatic system. Muscle tissue is made up largely of water and plays an essential roll in the proper functioning of muscles and joints. Incorporate water and electrolytes into your daily routine, goal is to never get thirsty.
In the end we need to listen to our body. It is the best feedback to guide us. None of these things on their own are a guaranteed prevention but in combination they reduce risk of injury.