Fall weather is right around the corner and we're all itching to be outside. As I eagerly await the changing of the seasons, my internal clock is signaling that it's time to get outside and start running again. This is the time when parks, levees, streetcar lines and trails start crowding with runners who have been dormant during the long new Orleans Summer. Popular races like the Jazz Half Marathon, the Rock-n-Roll Marathon and the Louisiana Marathon attract runners and walkers of all ability levels and NOW is the time to start training!
Not only will we see more runners and walkers, but tennis players, cyclists, soccer players, ultimate Frisbee enthusiasts and kick ball junkies will fill the courts, streets and fields - all hoping to get a breath of crisp Autumn air while taking to their favorite activity. With this resurgence of outdoor athletes, a string of sports injuries is likely to follow. Overuse, sprains, strains and even broken bones will be a casualty for more than a few.
For some, their injury will be the result of shear bad luck but for others it would have been preventable. Let's focus in on the things you can do to prevent sports injuries this Fall -
1. Follow The 10% Rule. The 10% rule is particularly important for new half marathon/marathon trainees. As you're training, never increase the sum of your weekly mileage by more than 10% AKA "no cramming". It's the perfect recipe for a hamstring strain, knee injury or plantar fasciitis.
2. Start With A Dynamic Warmup. Will you look silly? Maybe, but not as silly as your friend with a strained quad muscle who has to sit out for two weeks. A dynamic warmup can include a light jog, high knees, butt kicks, lateral shuffles or karaoka. Be as creative as you want but try to move in different planes (forward, sideways and rotational).
3. Cross-train. It doesn't matter what time of exercise you enjoy. Mix it up to avoid injury. Overuse injuries are extremely common because we get caught up enjoying ONE thing a whole lot more than anything else. As a result, we end up stressing the same muscles, tendons and ligaments repeatedly. Typical overuse happens in the tennis player's shoulder, the cyclist's knee or the runner's heel. Try swimming if you've been doing a lot of high impact activities.
4. Get A Checkup With a PT. Getting a checkup with your local PT can help you identify areas of vulnerability (tight or weak muscles and unstable joints to name a few) so you can address them before something goes wrong.
5. Give Your Body Time To Recover. Sure, we all want to get our daily dose of exercise but recovery can be just as important. As we exercise, our body is breaking down muscle tissue to rebuild it stronger. If you don't allow for proper recovery it can lead to excessive soreness and potential injury.
There you have it! 5 Tips To Avoid A Sports Injury No Matter Your Experience Level. Get out there any enjoy these new few months but don't forget about these 5 crucial tips! If you follow my advice, you'll certainly position yourself for a fun and health season of outdoor activities.
To book your checkup for a full body evaluation and to spot any likely or potential problem areas, simply give us a ring at 504-407-3477. After your checkup, an individual road map will be drawn out for you with the exact direction for adding strength, flexibility or stability to your body for optimal performance while limiting injury potential. See you out there!