Staying Healthy and Preventing Injuries
Bronson Sports Medicine athletic trainers are back in action, adapting to COVID-19 protocols while managing and preventing injuries. We are following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) guidelines under the orders of the Governor and local health departments. Athletic trainers are encouraging all athletes and coaches to mask-up while participating or being involved in all school sanctioned events, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Athletic trainers are staying up-to-date on all current COVID-19 information to assist local schools with adapting to the changing safety protocols. Athletic trainers are still working on injury prevention with student athletes in a socially distant manner, including conducting rehabilitation sessions - outside when possible - to adapt to the new standard.
Here are some tips for staying healthy and preventing injury during physical activity:
Make Sure Your Body is Ready for Physical Activity
If you are just beginning a new physical activity/exercise routine, or have health concerns
associated with a physical activity, consult with your doctor to ensure that your body can handle the demands. A great starting point is walking. Walking helps to build cardiovascular endurance and helps with full body mobility and strength, which is essential for preventing injury. A great example of a full body mobility and strength routine is yoga. Working on increasing mobility in joints and decreasing strength imbalances is an important step to take before getting into any new activity or training.
Follow a Training Program
Part of staying healthy in any physical activity or sport is being trained without over-training. The body must be prepared for the demands of your activity, but also needs adequate amounts of rest and recovery. Training programs can gradually ease active people into working toward their goals and allowing the body to acclimate to their activity. Find a training program that aligns with your goals and fits into your schedule. This can be as simple as planning the amount of days per week you will exercise, taking beginner workout classes at your gym, or even planning our workout to meet your goals, such as a 5k training program.
Stay Hydrated and Eat a Variety of Nutritious Foods
Hydration plays a key role in health as well as performance. Weather conditions, training duration and training intensity are just a few factors that influence the amount of water the body uses while exercising. Hydrating properly and replacing fluids lost during exercise can help reduce the risk of heat illness and help maintain important body functions during exercise and recovery. To begin an exercise session hydrated, The National Athletic Trainers’ Association recommends consuming 17-20 fluid ounces of water or sports drink 2-3 hours before exercise and 7-10 additional ounces 10-20 minutes before exercise. A general guideline for fluid replacement during exercise is 7-10 fluid ounces every 10-20 minutes. Drinking water after exercise helps restore hydration and replenish the body. To encourage intake of a well- rounded diet, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables of different colors and aim to include a fat, protein, and carbohydrates from nutrient dense sources such as whole grains, complete proteins and healthy oils.
Stretch With Your Warm-Up and Cool-Down
It is important to prepare the body and muscles to exercise using a warm-up, and then help them recover afterwards with a cool down. Stretching during the warm-up and cool down is important to prevent injury. Dynamic stretching, which consists of moving the joints through a full range of motion, is especially good for the warm-up and cool-down. A foam roller, which is a foam cylinder used to “roll” the muscles, helps to massage the muscles to loosen any tight spots. These stretching and mobility techniques, and other examples can be found on the internet.
Rest and Form Good Sleep Habits
Rest includes getting your 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is vital for your health, energy, metabolism and mood. Sleep habits can start anywhere; finding what works best for you to wind down at night and catch the best Zs. Factors interrupting your sleep could be light, sound, air, your mattress and bedding: 1) Light. As evening rolls in, our body naturally produces melatonin. Keeping it bright in your home or bedroom causes the brain to stay more alert and can cause problems with falling asleep. 2) Sound. If you have a partner that snores or maybe the room is just too quiet, finding a background noise may help you fall asleep. 3) Air. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60 to 70° with about 50% humidity. 4) Mattress. Replacing your mattress, every 7-10 years is recommended. Since mattresses lose their support, and we spend so much time on them, it’s important to have the right support and comfort. 5) Bedding. It’s important your bedding is clean and comfortable.
Manage Stress and Mental Health
Managing your stress and mental health are key components in training. Focus on the things that can be controlled. Create a routine. Routines and daily schedules can help reduce anxiety. That way you know exactly what you will be doing each day. Getting outside and enjoying fresh air is a great way to manage stress. Taking a step back and appreciating the things around you can refuel your mind. Know that you have resources that can help you along the way. Access to the internet is extremely helpful in identifying who and where you can get help or support from. Use it to your advantage.
Listen to Your Body!
Training properly, hydrating, eating a balanced diet, wearing the right shoes and equipment, giving yourself REST DAYS and proper warm-up/cool-down are all great ways to stay healthy while exercising. Nothing replaces the ability to listen to your body. Muscle soreness can come with any athletic activity but it’s okay to take rest or take a day off when needed. Injuries happen even with proper training and preparation.
If you suffer an injury and need to make an appointment with an orthopedic/sports medicine provider, call: (855) 618-2676.