PREVENTING TRAINING INJURIES
The best approach tois to try to prevent them occurring in the first place. The following recommendations can help you to stay injury-free:
• Allow your body time to recover after an exercise session; incorporate rest days into your exercise programme.
• Eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of complex carbohydrates to fuel the muscles and prevent tiredness.
• Include a variety of activities in your exercise programme to avoid over-stressing the joints and muscles.
• Do not try toquickly; a slow, gradual progress is safer and more effective.
• Always wear footwear and clothing that are appropriate to your chosen activity, and ensure that any equipment you use is safe and well-maintained.
• Always warm up and stretch before and cool down and stretch after exercise.
• Avoid practising controversial exercises which can strain joints and muscles.
Accidental injuries can occur in all types of sport. Overuse injuries, however, are avoidable. An individual can minimize the risk of incurring this type of injury by making a few adjustments to the training routine. Allowing sufficient rest between exercise sessions, adopting a cross training approach, and avoiding working too hard too soon are all ways of preventing injuries.
Warming-up and cooling-down stretches are an essential element of any exercise routine, and an important part of injury prevention. Thorough stretching before exercise prepares the muscles and joints for activity. Stretching after exercise prevents muscle soreness in the days that follow.
Muscle cramp is a common. A person who is exercising may feel cramp as an intense pain when a muscle contracts involuntarily and does not relax. Gentle stretching and massaging of the affected muscle can bring immediate relief, enabling the individual to continue exercising. Ensuring intake of sufficient fluids and making certain dietary changes can prevent future problems.
Running on a hard surface; running constantly in the same direction around a circular track; and a rolling inwards of the foot as it strikes the ground are all possible contributing factors to ilio-tibial band syndrome. This complaint (to which distance runners and cyclists are particularly vulnerable) affects the ilio-tibial band on the outer thigh and causes pain in the front of the knee.
If you incur a minor training injury, take the following steps to minimize inflammation and pain:
- Rest – at least a day or two of rest is essential after an injury; resume exercising gradually with gentle stretching.
- Ice – as soon as possible on the first day of injury, apply an ice pack for up to 15 minutes every two to three hours.
- Compression – compress the affected area with an elasticated bandage; the bandage should not be so tight as to restrict the flow of blood to the area.
- Elevation – support and elevate the injured area; for example, elevate an injured knee on a footstool.
- Applying an ice pack (which could be improvised with a bag of ice cubes or a packet of frozen peas) to the affected area is the first stage of self-treatment for a minor injury.