Top 5 Advantages of Injury Prevention Exercises for Amateur Athletes
Getting hurt sucks, but the double-whammy is getting hurt when you’re doing your best to maintain your health and build strength.
The subtle art of injury prevention exercises is teaching your body to move and flow with the level of exercise you’re most comfortable with. It’s about eliminating the succession and recurrence of sports-related injury, yes – but it’s; also about adding flexibility, strength, agility, and balance to your body and your workout routine.
But perhaps the biggest benefit to injury prevention exercises is the knowledge you gain when you invest the time to learn about what’s working for you, and what’s not – how you can adapt, and how your body sustains this change.
While there are many, here are our top 5 benefits of practicing injury prevention exercises for amateur athletes and gym-users:
Reducing Potential for Future Injury
Knowledge is power. Heading to a gym or running onto the field and giving 110% out of the gate is a sure-fire way to injure yourself – because you lack the knowledge to keep yourself in good health. Your body’s biomechanical pathways know their limits whether you do or not, so the biggest benefit of injury prevention exercises is acknowledging they’re here for a reason.
If you injure yourself: respect your injury, first and foremost. Many of the most common weight training and sports-related injuries stem from improper use of equipment, poor exercise technique, and repeating the process over and over. Outside contributors can include poor posture outside of the gym or off the court – such as slouching on the couch, hunching over at your desk all day, and sitting for prolonged periods of time. Knowing how you got hurt is your best weapon in formulating your own injury prevention exercise plan.
Respecting the recovery process and the exercises and stretches that will allow your body to recuperate will help reduce the likelihood you’ll injure yourself in a similar way again.
Recovering from Injury Quickly
Injury prevention exercises also double as existing injury rehabilitation practices. Injuries can have both long and short-term consequences for your body, and whether your sport is running, hitting the gym, team sports like basketball or hockey, or skiing – injury prevention exercises like stretching, yoga, and a good warm-up/cool-down routine all contribute to the bodies ability to heal and recover faster.
Low-intensity activation of your affected muscles with frequent movement keeps the blood flowing throughout the muscle and prevents over-shortening during recovery. For example, if you’ve pulled your hamstring, low intensity leg swings, light stretches and walking will help to accelerate your recovery time – but going for a 5k run, or over-exerting your hamstring through an intense yoga routine will likely cause further stress to the muscle.
Eliminating Stiff, Tight Muscles & Joints
Make stretching and flexibility training a staple of your workout or game day routine.
Accepting injury prevention exercise as critical to the elimination of recurring injury is the key to cutting the potential for injury and increasing the usability and function of your muscles and tendons.
When you stretch, you increase the elasticity and range of motion of your muscles and tendons – you encourage blood movement positive stimulation. When we neglect to stretch and engage our muscles we run the risk of shortening the muscle and tendon – reducing flexibility, encouraging tightening, and immobilizing connective tissues. Leaving strained and injured muscles untreated can lead to potential muscle tears and limited or painful mobility.
Sustain & Build Flexibility
Ensure that all of your muscles and major joints are continually exercised by putting them through a full range of motion. The best preventative exercise for sustaining muscle flexibility is a good pre-drill warm-up routine.
Practicing pre-movement exercises that apply to your sport or gym workout raise your core temperature, and improve the pliability of muscle groups, reducing the chance for potential strain. The more impressionable the muscle and tendon group, the better your chances are for improving your overall range of motion and adapting to stresses in the body.
Year Round Health
Your body is your vessel for physical activity – it’s much like a car. Fuelling your vehicle with sub-par fuel wreaks havoc on the engine and transmission, you lose power, and increase the chances of mechanical failure. Similarly, the less you drive and maintain your vehicle, the more you run the risk of something breaking when you choose to take it for a spin.
While not a traditional form of exercise per-say, nutrition plays a huge role in muscle recovery. Certain foods have anti-inflammatory effects, while other promote inflammation within the body contributing to longer recovery times and future injury.
Deep-fried foods, white flour, sugars and comfort foods are all considered pro-inflammatory foods that should be avoided in practicing injury-prevention exercise. A diet that consists of plenty of water, omega 3 fatty acids, fruits and veggies provides your body with the best healing environment to encourage recovery.