Proactive Steps to Reduce Injury Risk
Over the course of 2023, a lot of us will have had an injury or a niggle at some point that has prevented us from taking part in all the activities we would have liked to, or has side-lined us from sport. In the year 2024, we will all want to try do as much as we can to prevent injury and stay fit and healthy throughout the year. This blog post aims to share a few tips that we can add into our day-to-day life to help us accomplish that goal and stay injury free in 2024.
Increasing Activity Levels
One of the leading causes for ailments such as lower back or neck pain is inactivity. People who live a sedentary lifestyle have been shown to have a much higher risk of experiencing both low back and neck pain than those remain even mildly active. One of the easily accessible ways we can reduce the likelihood of experiencing these complaints is to gently begin to increase our activity levels. Even something simple like going for a 30 minute walk a day will go a long way to helping us prevent episodes of low back pain. If that is not achievable at to start with, don’t let that deter you, start smaller, and work your way up to a level that suits you.
One of the reasons a lot of athletes may present with injuries such as hamstring strains, groin strains, and ankle strains (among many other things) is because of a lack of mobility. For most athletes, sport is a hobby, and it can be hard to maintain our flexibility throughout a season with training, strength and condition, work, and a social life. However, supplementing one of our training session or gym sessions with even 30 minutes of stretching and mobility training can make a huge difference towards lowering our risk of injury. If it’s not possible to add in a full mobility session once a week, even adding 5 minutes of stretching a day can go a long way towards improving our flexibility.
Strength and conditioning is often seen as something to be done in preseason for athletes, or as rehabilitation for those who live a more sedentary life. However, it is an important factor in helping us stay fit and strong generally. For people living a sedentary lifestyle, it can be as simple as beginning a home exercise program, consisting of bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, or press-ups that can be done 2 or 3 times over the course of the week. For athletes it can be a bit more complex, but adding in a strength and conditioning session twice a week will help us to maintain the strength gains made in the preseason, and will complement our performance on the pitch, by keeping us strong and explosive throughout or training and gametime.
Listen To Your Body
Sometimes the most important thing we can do to reduce injury risk is listen to our bodies. For many people before injury comes on there will be warning signs before it blows up into something more. Whether that be the unusual tightness, frequent cramping during sports, general fatigue, or mild pain; these are signs that there may be a weakness present or an injury on the horizon. Listening to our bodies and acknowledging these early signs can sometimes be the first step in preventing further injury to the area. If we are seeing some of these signs, it can be important to modify our load early, cut back on some exercise, start adding in some more stretching before or after sessions, place more emphasis on warming up and cooling down effectively. These early interventions can often be the difference between remaining fit and healthy or spending time out from activities through injury.
Recovery is an important part of life for any athlete, whether recreational or elite, and its importance should not be understated. A lot of people see on social media that many elite athletes will use things like compression boots, or ice baths to optimise their recovery, but the basics are every bit and more important than those things. A good cool down after sports, some gentle stretching, and proper nutrition are all important to consider after sports and will go just as far to help remain fit and healthy throughout the season and keep us feeling good after a tough training session or match. Replenishing our sugar, water, and electrolytes, a well-balanced meal, and even something as simple as a walk the next morning can all go a long way to helping us feel our best.
PMC Physiotherapy Recommendation
For a healthier, uninterrupted exercise routine in 2024 let’s prioritise injury prevention. If you have concerns about a persistent injury or wish to explore our tailored strength and conditioning programs or Pilates classes to support your 2024 goals, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced physiotherapists. By adding a few simple habits to our day-to-day routines, let’s make 2024 a year marked by strength, wellness, and free from injuries.
PMC Physiotherapy Clinic, Unit 36, Dunboyne Business Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath
01 8253 997