When you’re an athlete you can rally back from just about anything. Except a serious injury.
Nothing ends a season (or a career) faster. And when you consider the 3.5 million youths get injured in America each year playing sports, we’re looking at epidemic numbers. It’s one of the reasons why physical trainers are in such demand these days.
They say it’s better to be proactive than retroactive. This is especially true for injury prevention, but we rarely think of fixing something before it’s broken. Below are five ways (that won’t break the bank) to keep yourself injury free so you can stay in the game and off the bench.
1. Omega 3
Athletes often treat injuries by eternal means, but injury prevention really starts from the inside. Supplements of all kinds help: protein for building muscle, Vitamin C for recovering torn tissues after an intense workout, and for injury prevention, Omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 3’s boast a laundry list of benefits for the body (and the brain), but they also can aid in injury prevention. The fatty acid helps lower inflammation inside the body, a root cause of injuries in athletes.
Omega 3’s also help reduce swelling if you’re already injured. This, in turn, can speed up the recovery process and get you back in the game.
You can take in Omega 3’s naturally by having a diet rich in seafood like salmon or by taking fish oil supplements.
2. Foam Rollers
Not all foam rollers are created equal. Some are designed to medically massage specific regions of the body, while others get rid of pain and enhance motion (myofascial release).
Whatever the case, foam rollers will aid in injury prevention by getting rid of muscle tension. By using them like a rolling pin against a target set of muscles, you can easily work out body tension.
For example, a quality foam roller can reach areas of your back that you couldn’t reach on your own.
Clinical trials show that foam rollers help the body in three specific ways:
- Diminish muscle soreness
- Increase vertical leap
- Extende range of motion
Maintaining the proper range of motion is incredibly important for injury prevention. As a general rule, the more flexibility you possess, the less likely you are to get injured (this is why stretching is so important before and after workouts).
3. Massage / Trigger Point Massage Ball
Rarely outside of Thailand do the words “massage” and “affordable” go together. That being said, most insurance companies cover physical therapy (just make sure you read the fine print). And you don’t need to be an athlete to require physical therapy. Medical massages can do wonders for injury prevention.
If physical therapy isn’t a realistic option for you, try a trigger point massage ball instead. They’re specially designed to relieve tight, tense muscles. You can use them to massage out the knots that form in your muscles after a workout or a long day at work.
If you’re really trying to save money, people have found similar success with golf, lacrosse, and tennis balls.
4. Run Goo
Wearing clothes while you run (and we hope you are) inevitably leads to friction. Chafing is a real concern for many athletes; an untimely blister could lead to a painful infection you don’t need when competing.
Thankfully, there’s Run Goo. Run Goo is a type of body lubricant specifically designed to protect the body against the blisters and chafing that go hand in hand with running. If you’re the type of runner that often gets ankle blisters, Run Goo is the perfect product for you.
5. Medical Taping
Too often people only use medical taping after they’re already injured.
A study of basketball players found that those with taped ankles sustained nearly half the number of injuries as those who didn’t have their ankles taped before games. This indicates that medical taping provides added compression and support to frequently injured body parts without sacrificing performance.
Do you have any go-to methods for preventing injury that we didn’t mention? Please share them in the comments below.