Injury can frustrate, impede progress, and take the joy out of your sport.
Events such as collision, poor surfaces, and pre-existing medical conditions that cannot necessarily be predicted mean that not all injuries are preventable. However, the majority of injuries occur as a result of overtraining, poor technique/biomechanics, areas of weakness or a combination of these.
Here are four top interventions to help avoid injury;
1 – Avoid Overtraining
Overtraining occurs when the body is not given adequate time to recover from previous efforts. Believe it or not, hard training can take more than just a day or two to recover from. ‘Supercompensation’ is the process by which your body recovers from training, adapting and becoming stronger. Generally speaking, the longer or harder you train, the more time your body needs to recover effectively. Effective training should oscillate between phases of high and low intensity. Recovery doesn’t necessarily mean rest, as light training can be used as such. Following a hard training day with another hard effort will lead you closer to accumulated fatigue, burnout and an increased risk of injury. So, if your body is aching, back off and enjoy the benefits of low stress exercise.
2 – Have an off season:
Taking time off from sport can be productive in more than one way. Having even just a few weeks off from a set regime can help to invigorate the love for your chosen sport as well as giving the body an opportunity to recuperate from the strain that has been placed upon it. For those who train lightly once or twice a week, this is less important, but for those who are training towards specific goals, times, and events more than three or four times a week, this is vital. Fatigue is not something that can be slept off overnight; reap the benefits of taking it easy and then starting again with a clear plan of attack.
3 – Strengthen and Condition your body
Using the winter to prepare your body for the rigours of the forthcoming season with strength work can be very effective in protecting your muscles, joints and tendons. Anyone who has been injured and undergone rehab will know that there are a number ofexercises prescribed by health professionals for recovery, each designed to strengthen the area surrounding the site in order to minimise the risk of recurrence. By using movement patterns specific to your sport, you will condition the muscles that surround joints. This ‘prehab’ is an approach where areas of
weakness are eliminated, reducing risk of injury. If we are going to ask so much from a particular area of the body, it is necessary to prepare it first.
4 – Listen to your body
Your body is intricately designed, and has a very effective way of telling you something is wrong, and put simply, is pain. The ‘pain’ associated with glory, or the muscular burning associated with a hard workout is not what we are addressing here, but targeted discomfort in a particular area of the body. In the early stages, these are often referred to as niggles and can be frequent if you don’t back off and develop into an injury. This requires management but cross-training can be a very effective intervention. By using another mode of exercise that gives very similar benefits while relieving strain in the particular area of discomfort can be highly effective in providing reduced impact while maintaining strength and fitness. Injuries often occur as a result of using a joint too much in the same plane or position. Keeping your program varied and interesting can help in avoiding this scenario.