Health & Diet

Fitness: Prevent common injuries this summer with ‘regular and sensible’ tactics – ‘vital’

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As more and more people head outside to exercise now the weather is warmer, interest in summer sporting activities has risen by 60 percent in the past few months. But with more interest in outdoor activities during summer, comes an increased risk of injuries.

So, in order to help minimise injury risk this summer, Joe Dale, a sports expert and founder of VPS Medicine, offered some guidance.

Don’t skip the warm ups

Never underestimate the power of stretching before a workout or taking in an activity.

Joe revealed many injuries could be avoided if people did a proper warm up.

He said: “The vast majority of minor sports-related injuries I’ve encountered could be avoided with regular and sensible warm-up regimes.

“This should involve dynamic stretching, which will allow the joints to become lubricated, as well as allow the tendon, muscle and ligament around the joints to get used to being stretched.”

Focus on the right muscles

Joe revealed that some very common injuries can be avoided by focusing on strengthening the right muscles from the get-go.

“Spraining the ankle ligaments and hamstrings are both very common sporting injuries, but can often be prevented by strengthening the appropriate muscles,” he said.

“Hence, it’s vital to spend some time in the gym strengthening the muscles that you’ll be using – the stronger your muscles are, the more easily they can protect the surrounding joint.”

Build up slowly

He warned people to know their limits when it comes to a new activity, or even one they haven’t done in a while.

“If you haven’t exercised for a long time, don’t be tempted to think that you can start at the level you did as a 16-year-old,” he explained.

“Even if you’ve kept fit in other ways, each sport is unique in the way it uses the joints and muscles – so build up slowly and try taking it gently for the first couple of sessions to allow your body to adapt.”

Don’t forget to warm down

As important as warm-ups are, warming down is equally as crucial.

“After completing any sporting activity, a warm-down is vital to help get rid of the waste products built up during exercise,” Joe stated.

“Without a proper warm-down, the waste products such as lactic acid can linger in the muscles and lead to serious DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).”

Even acute pain such as stabbing feeling that appears suddenly, or a lingering ache that interferes with daily activities, can turn into a lifelong problem if not treated properly.

Dr Mininder Kocher, chief of the Sports Medicine Division, said: “If we catch sports injuries early, they can often be treated with rest and physical therapy.

“If an athlete waits until they can barely walk, sports injuries often require major surgery and can lead to early arthritis.”

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