As BSSC’s spring sports season begins, we have injury prevention on our mind. After all, we need our athletes healthy to put up some good competition! That’s why we asked our partners at ProEx Physical Therapy to give us their top tips for staying healthy and injury-free this spring. Read on for more!
Spring is right around the corner! While the weather is getting nicer, that means it is time to get ready to return to outdoor activities. Many BSSC members will take to the fields and courts around Boston this spring with recreational sports like softball, soccer and volleyball. As you begin to increase your outdoor activities, keep in mind that stretching can help prevent injuries and should always be a part of your fitness program and your pre-activity warm up routine.
Benefits of Stretching for Injury Prevention
- Preserve (or increase) joint range of motion and muscle length.
- Prepare for physical activity and relief of muscle soreness after physical activity.
- Decrease muscle tightness and stiffness, resulting in greater mobility.
- Increase blood flow and nutrients to muscles.
- Rise in tissue/muscle temperature.
- Component of injury prevention and treatment.
Make Your Stretches More Effective
- Maintain a pain-free level while stretching.
- Listen to your body and respond accordingly by discontinuing your stretch if you feel pain.
- Warm-up prior to stretching. A light jog for 5-10 minutes will do.
- Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds and perform 3-4 repetitions.
- Stretch a variety of muscle groups that are utilized during the specific activity you are doing.
- Try to maintain a balanced position to avoid additional muscular tension, and breathe normal.
- When doing dynamic stretches, be careful not to force your joints into painful positions.
Static and Dynamic Stretches. What is the difference?
After a warm-up, and in the period prior to and after athletic participation, stretches should be performed. There are two different types of stretches. A static stretch is a slow and passive stretch targeting specific muscles, where a dynamic stretch is active movements. Typically both static and dynamic stretches can be performed before athletic activities but with more emphasis on dynamic. Examples of dynamic stretches are jumping jacks, body weight squats, and legs swings. A static stretch is the preference when you conclude your workout routine. Static stretches should be performed to each major muscle group for 3-4 repetitions, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds. It is imperative that you pay close attention to stretching all your major muscles that will be (or were) utilized during your activities.
Nipping Injuries in the Bud
Stretching properly before a workout can be extremely helpful in preventing injuries while playing sports. In the unfortunate event that you develop an injury, Physical Therapy is an option to aid in healing your injuries and return you back to your desired activities in a timely manner. Working with a Sports Medicine professional, such as a physical therapist, will assist you in resuming your desired level of sport activity. The main purpose of Physical Therapy after an injury will be to decrease pain and swelling, increase range of motion, function, and strength. Your physician can write you a prescription for PT which will be performed on average 2-3 times a week.
About ProEx Physical Therapy
ProEx Physical Therapy is a physical therapist owned private practice specializing in orthopedics and sports medicine. To find the location nearest to you, please visit www.PROexPT.com. or call 877-776-9843 for more information.