TECHIQUES FOR REDUCING SPORTS INJURIES
Warm-up and cool-down
A warm-up routine is essential to raise the body tempertaure by using all the major muscle groups thereby increasing blood flow and elasticity of muscle tissue and allowing more oxygen to be carried to the working muscles. This will prepare the body for the activity to follow. This will also improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Just as one gradually increases the amount of work prior to strenuous exercise it also makes sense to gradually decrease the amount of work following sports training. Following intense activity blood has been diverted to working muscles and has a tendency to "pool" in the extremities, especially the legs. Light rhythmical activity involving the muscle groups will aid the blood to return to the heart and prevent pooling and consequent dizziness and nausea. Stretching activities during the cool-down will also prevent muscle soreness following exercise. Gradually bringing the body back to normal also helps psychological wind-down and promotes mental relaxation at the end of the exercise session, allowing time to consider the feeling of satisfaction and benefit that exercise can bring.
Resting Muscles and not over training
The general purpose of any training session is to improve the performance and the shape of the body's muscles, organs and systems. To achieve this the body must be subjected to a load above it's habitual level. Equally important is recovery after exercise. Without adequate recovery, there can be no adaption. The body needs time to rest, recover and adapt after training. The amount of time needed will depend on the intensity and length of the session, the fitness level of the person, the use of recovery techniques, and the person's diet.
Balanced training programme
The aim of exercise is to improve the efficiency of the body's systems. Resistance training refers to the type of exercise where the body's muscles apply force to an external resistance. This is important for increasing body strength and endurance. It also plays an important role in increasing bone density and preventing diseases such as osteoporosis. Resistance exercise can be achieved with free weights or the resistance machines common in most gyms. Aerobic exercise is that which increases the body's demand for oxygen over an extended period of time and provides energy at the same rate it is used. This produces many longlasting benefits to the heart and lungs. Aerobic exercise includes cycling, jogging, and swimming. For general fitness a combination of resistance and aerobic training should be combined.
The greatest cause of injury is lack of fitness and flexibility. Anaerobic metabolism takes over when exercise intensifies and provides a fast supply of energy, produced by the breakdown of the carbohydrate glycogen which is stored in the liver and the muscles. The process of conversion (which does not involve oxygen) produces lactic acid as a by-product which accumulates largely in the blood and muscles and will cause fatigue if it builds up. Pain is a warning that the body has had enough and can indicate a rapid rise in lactate causing muscle burn, excessive strain on a previous injury, or perhaps actual tissue and cell damage. At this stage the athlete should slow down with some loose rhythmical swinging or walking on the spot, accompanied by controlled breathing, which will restore normality so that the muscles can continue working.