The Professionals Secret Weapon
While there are a number of basic preventative measures that will assist in the prevention of sports injury, there is one technique that has slowly been gaining in popularity. Itís still not used as often as it should be by the average sports participant, but with the professionals using it more and more, itís only a matter of time before it starts to catch on. Before we dive into this little used technique for minimizing your likelihood of sports injury, lets take a quick look at some other techniques to help you prevent sports injury.
So, Where Do You Start?
Most people are coming to understand both the importance and the benefits of a good warm-up. A correct warm-up will help to raise body temperature, increase blood flow and promote oxygen supply to the muscles. It will also help to prepare the mind, body, muscles and joints for the physical activity to come.
While warming-up is important, a good cool-down also plays a vital role in helping to prevent sports injury. How? A good cool-down will prevent blood from pooling in your limbs. It will also prevent waste products, such as lactic acid, building up in your muscles. Not only that, a good cool-down will help your muscles and tendons to relax and loosen, stopping them from becoming stiff and tight.
While preventative measures such as warming-up and cooling-down play a vital role in minimizing the likelihood of sports injury, other techniques such as obeying the rules, using protective equipment and plain common sense are all useful.
The One Technique to Cut Your Chance
of Injury by More Than Half
So what is this magic
technique? Why is it such a secret? And how come you haven't heard of it
before? Well chances are you have, and also, itís not that secret and itís
definitely not magic. You've probably used this technique yourself at some
point or at least seen others using it. But the real question is, how
dedicated have you been to making this technique a consistent part of your
athletic preparation? What is it? STRETCHING. Yes, stretching. The simple
technique of stretching can play an imperative role in helping you to
prevent the occurrence of sports injury. Unfortunately stretching is one
area of athletic preparation often neglected. Do not underestimate its
benefits. Don't make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as
stretching won't be effective. Stretching is a vital part of any exercise
program and should be looked upon as being as important as any other part
of your health and fitness. In recent time the professionals have been
getting more and more serious about stretching and ultimately, their
flexibility. The coaches and trainers are just starting to realize how
important flexible muscles are to helping prevent sports injury.
Flexibility has often been neglected in the overall conditioning of modern
athletes. Itís only now that its benefits are proving invaluable to all
those serious about staying injury free.
How Does Stretching Prevent
One of the greatest benefits of stretching is that youíre able to increase the length
of both your muscles and tendons. This leads to an increased range of movement,
which means your limbs and joints can move further before an injury occurs. Lets take
a look at a few examples.
If the muscles in your neck are tight and stiff this limits your ability to look behind
or turn your head around. If for some reason your head is turned backwards, past its'
normal range of movement, in a football scrum or tackle for example, this could result
in a muscle tear or strain. You can help to prevent this from happening by increasing
the flexibility, and the range of movement, of the muscles and tendons in your neck.
And what about the muscles in the back of your legs?
The Hamstring muscles. These muscles
are put under a huge strain when doing any sort of sport which involves running and
especially for sports which require kicking. Short, tight hamstring muscles can spell
disaster for many sports people. By ensuring these muscles are loose and flexible, you'll
cut your chance of a hamstring injury dramatically.
How else can stretching help? While injuries can occur at any time, they are more likely
to occur if the muscles are fatigued, tight and depleted of energy. Fatigued, tight
muscles are also less capable of performing the skills required for your particular
sport or activity. Stretching can help to prevent an injury by promoting recovery and
Stretching ensures that your muscles and tendons are in good working
order. The more conditioned your muscles and tendons are, the better they can handle the
rigors of sport and exercise, and the less likely that they'll become injured.
So as you can see, there's more to stretching than most people think. Stretching is a
simple and effective activity which will help you to enhance your athletic performance,
decrease your likelihood of sports injury and minimise muscle soreness.
If you'd like to know more about stretching and how it can help you,
order a copy of The Stretching Handbook today.
Article by Brad Walker. Brad is a leading stretching and
sports injury consultant with over 15 years experience
in the health and fitness industry. For more articles
on the prevention & treatment of sports injury,
subscribe to The Stretching & Sports Injury Newsletter
by visiting http://www.thestretchinghandbook.com/.