Sports injuries can be a nuisance. They can take a while to recover from and you may find that you’re unable to partake in your chosen sport while in recovery.

Other day-to-day activities could also be affected such as driving or doing housework. By exploring ways of preventing sports injuries, you can avoid the pain and hassle that comes with them. There are several different preventative measures that you can take. Below are just some of the different ways to prevent a sports injury.

Wear the right protective gear

In many sports, it is recommended that you wear certain protective gear. Examples include helmets when cycling or running shoes while running. Such protective gear is designed to prevent sports injuries. 

You should make sure that any protective gear you buy is high quality and the right fit so that you’re actually getting protection from it. There’s no point wearing a cycling helmet that’s loose or a damaged pair of running shoes as they won’t provide the protection that you need. 

Warm up and cool down

Warm up exercises and cool down exercises can also prevent sports injuries. Warm up exercises help to increase blood flow to muscles so that you’re less likely to suffer from cramps and strains. Cool down exercises can help to drain muscles and prevent DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) the next day. 

Try to make time within your workout for these exercises. 5 minutes of warm up exercises and 5 minutes of cooling down is all you need. 

Train the right muscles

It’s important that you’re working out the muscles that are needed for your sport. Consider workout regimes that are catered towards your sport so that you’re exercising the right muscles and practicing the right actions. 

You may be able to find personal trainers and workout plans aimed at your sport such as this Summit Strength personal training service for hikers. You could also research the workout plans of athletes within your sport. 

Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water is also important for reducing sports injuries. When your body is dehydrated, muscle fatigue is more likely to set in. This is because water is needed to help with blood flow to muscles. 

Drink water before, during and after partaking in your sport. Try to take small sips instead of downing large amounts of water, so that you don’t make yourself sick. This site Family Doctor offers a guide to hydration for athletes. 

Eat the right foods

You may also be able to prevent injuries by eating the right foods. Certain healthy foods like berries and fish have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help your muscles to heal after a workout. Consuming a healthy amount of protein is also important for nourishing active muscles. 

This post by Dr Andrew Dutton delves more into how your diet may affect your ability to prevent sports injuries. 

Get enough sleep and rest

Sports injuries can be caused by overworking certain muscles and joints. It’s important to rest your body after an intense workout. Ideally, you should have a day of rest between workout sessions. Alternatively, you should focus on different muscle groups such as an upper body day and leg day.

A good amount of sleep is necessary for healing muscles and restoring energy levels. If you haven’t had enough sleep before doing physical activity, you could be more at risk of causing an injury. Make sure to get at least 7 hour sleep the night before and the night after a workout. 

Listen to your body

While there’s some truth to the phrase ‘no pain, no gain’, you should be wary of where the pain is coming from. Achy quads while cycling could be a sign that you’re successfully working out these muscles, however if the pain is coming from a joint or is a searing muscle pain, you may want to get off your bike – ploughing on through the pain could cause you to develop an injury.

You should be particularly careful of reinjuring old sports injuries. Make sure that you give yourself enough time to recover from an old injury before returning to your sport. You don’t want to end up back at square one again because you were too impatient.