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How to Prevent Injury and Pain in Adult Recreational Sports

Who doesn't love a good game of sand volleyball or slow pitch softball? Or maybe you prefer running or cycling for your exercise. Whatever your favorite activity or form of exercise is, there is always a chance of injury and that chance unfortunately increases as we age. A recent study of injuries in adult recreational sports indicated that 76% of injuries resulted in a missing 1 or more activities and 9.5% required a physician visit. Of all of the sports in the study, running had the highest risk of injury and competitive activities also had a higher injury rate. Participants in the study that had a previous injury history were 2x as likely to re-injure themselves.

With all of that said, most of these injuries are not significant and largely preventable following a few easy steps. In this blog, we will outline why many of these injuries occur and some simple steps that you can following to ensure you don't have to miss out on any of your favorite activities.

1. Warm-up Properly

It's Thursday night and you are headed to the softball field for your game. When you arrive at the field you hop out of the car and grab your stuff and then you:

A: Grab an adult beverage with your teammates

B: You are late, so you race to the dugout

C: Maybe do a couple of stretches

Some of the most common injuries that occur in adult recreational sports are due to the athlete not being properly prepared for the demands of the sport (ie - running/sprinting, quick change of direction, jumping, etc.). These injuries include: pulled/strained muscles, tendonitis, Achilles tendon tears, and muscle/joint pain.

A quick and simple warm-up is an easy way to largely prevent most of these types of injuries and aches/pain. Warming up is important because it prepares our bodies to handle the challenges we are about to place on it such as: sprinting to first base, jumping to block a spike, diving for a ball, etc. When are bodies are not prepared for the task at hand is when we are at an increased risk for injury. Here is an efficient warm-up routine that you can quickly perform before any of your recreational sports.

2. Take Time to Cool Down

Listen, I understand that taking time to stretch after your workouts or activities is really the last thing you want to do because life is busy and we often don't have a lot of time. However, making sure to take some time following an activity to allow our bodies to cool down and recover is an easy step in helping prevent pain and injury. Performing a quick 5-10 min stretching routine after exercise is a great way to help prevent soreness and give our bodies the love they deserve. Here is a quick cool down routine that you can easily implement after a run or any of your favorite recreational activities.

3. Perform Sport or Activity Specific Exercises

It is important to make sure that we are setting ourselves up for success and working on exercises outside of our sport/activity that mimic the positions and movements that we experience during our sport. For example, let's say you play recreational basketball 1x/wk. During basketball, you are sprinting, cutting, pivoting, jumping, etc. However, how many other times during the week do you perform these movements or exercises similar to these movements. If we want our bodies to perform for us on the court, we have to take care of them off of the court, which includes preparing them during the week for that basketball game. Trying to incorporate these movements/exercises into your regular workout routine 1-2x/wk can make a big difference in your performance and keeping you healthy and active for years to come.

Check out this video for an example of some exercises that you can incorporate into your routine. This set of exercises was designed with cyclists in mind, but they also translate well to other sports because the address core stability, lateral movements, and lower body strength.

Wrapping it Up

Being able to stay active and fill your competitive nature is important to most people who are involved in recreational sports. However, we sometimes forget that we aren't 20 anymore and go out and play without making sure we take the time to give our bodies what they need to not only perform at their best, but also to keep us pain and injury free so we don't have to sit out. Taking and extra 5-10 minutes to properly warm-up before your games or events can go a long way in preventing most recreational sport injuries. Also, giving your body a little TLC after activity with a quick stretching routine will help decrease soreness. Finally, preparing your body throughout the week to handle the challenges of your sport can help keep you pain and injury free, as well as, keep you performing at the top of your game!

If you are dealing with an injury or pain that is keeping you from performing your favorite activities, reach out to us today at 515-985-9038 for a FREE Discovery Call to see how we can help.

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