Sitting out the game or being unable to meet friends at the gym because you are injured can be one of the worst feelings of the world and a major de-motivator. Injury prevention is critical, and is something that you should focus on each and every time you participate in sports or work out in any capacity to keep you healthy in the long run.

Below are a few tips to keep you injury free this spring so you can take your workout to the next level and enjoy life to the fullest:

Increase Your Flexibility

One of the best things you can do to prevent injuries is increase your flexibility. The more your joints are able to move, the less likely you are to experience a sprain or strain, which can keep you out of the game for weeks, depending on the severity. There are many ways to go about improving flexibility, one of the first things being to warm up more effectively. When you get the muscles properly warmed up, it will allow them to move with greater ease.

Static holds can also be great to add to post-exercise. It allows you to lengthen the muscles that may have tightened up throughout the workout. You should also be focusing on a full range of motion, and there are many workouts where you need to make sure to go the full range in order to reap the most benefits. For example, be sure you go into a full-depth squat so that you maximize the muscle usage.

Take Breaks

Even though you may be working towards a specific goal when you work out, or you are in the middle of the game, you need to take breaks. If you look at any professional sport, no one is going nonstop for long periods of time. In football, it’s either the offense or the defense out on the field. In baseball, only one person is up to bat at a time. This gives you a chance to relax, allow your muscles to take a break, and give you a moment to take a deep breath.

Strengthen Your Muscles

You should always be looking to strengthen your muscles, particularly within your core. It is your core muscles that are responsible for more than you might even realize, including simple tasks such as being able to stand up. The different types of activities you do on a regular basis may dictate what muscles you need to strengthen more. For example, if you do a lot of lifting, you want to make sure that you have strong legs and strong back muscles.

Use Proper Techniques

There is a proper technique for everything, whether you are lifting, throwing a ball, or swinging a golf club. If you don’t use proper technique, you are more likely to tear ligament or injure yourself in one way or another. By working with a trainer or coach, or watching instruction tutorials online, you can learn about technique so that you can implement it as you train and play the game.

Stop When There’s Pain!

Your body is smart and it’s going to tell you when there is pain. Whether you are doing a basic exercise or you are in the middle of a high-intensity game, if you feel pain, stop. Stopping can help to protect your muscles and ligaments and alert you to the fact that there may be something else going on. You can then book an appointment with a health care professional to learn about what’s happening.

There are plenty of different ways to prevent injury. When you can incorporate these into your everyday lifestyle, you are going to be healthier for it. You want the flexibility and the strength in order to get through daily activities as well as all of the different workouts and athletic things that you do. An injury can put a damper on everything, so injury prevention is just as important as reaching any other fitness goal you might have.

Sources:

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Sports-Injury-Prevention-Tip-Sheet.aspx

http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/7-ways-improve-flexibility

http://www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/workouts/exercises-muscle-maintenance

https://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/back_pain/back_pain_ff.asp