As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this is especially true when it comes to extreme sports. Injuries can sideline you for weeks or months and, potentially, keep you from rejoining the sport for good. So how can you protect yourself from extreme sports injuries? Here are nine tips to help reduce accidents and Extreme Sports Injuries:
- Wear protective gear.
Protective gear can’t prevent injuries 100% of the time, but wearing it greatly lessens your chances of getting hurt. Helmets, sports mouth guards, shoes, and other protective equipment is essential to participating in extreme sports. Make sure that everything fits correctly; if the gear is too big or too small, it won’t provide adequate protection. Periodically evaluate your protective gear to confirm that it still fits and that it hasn’t been ripped, cracked, or otherwise damaged. If the gear is compromised, replace it before your next game or competition.
2. Warm up properly.
Cold, still muscles and tendons are more prone to injury, which is why it’s so important to warm up properly before any workout, competition, or game. Warm ups generally consist of a few minutes of light cardio to get your blood flowing, followed by some stretches to lengthen your muscles. Your coach or personal trainer will likely have a warm up specifically tailored to your sport and possibly even you as an individual athlete, so always follow their instructions on how you should warm up.
3. Take time off to rest.
Extreme sports are hard on your body, so it’s very necessary to take a rest day at least once a week to give your body time to rest and recover. You should also work some lighter weeks into your training schedule, where you mostly focus on stretching and recovery even if you don’t stop conditioning completely. During games and competitions, you should also take break periods to get your breath back and drink some water. This will help keep you fresh and also guard against heat exhaustion if the weather is warm.
4. Follow the rules.
Extreme sports have rules for a reason: to protect both yourself and other participants. Always follow the guidelines for your chosen sport to the best of your ability, even in the heat of the moment. If your child is the one playing extreme sports, then you might need to explain to them why they need to follow the rules instead of just doing whatever they want. Keep an eye on them during practice and debrief with them afterward about how they can keep themselves and others safe while playing.
5. Condition your body.
When it comes to excelling (and staying safe) during extreme sports, just playing the sport itself isn’t enough. You need to condition your body through other workouts that are specifically designed to improve your strength, stamina, speed, flexibility, and balance. If you have a coach or personal trainer, they will work with you to design a training program that will strengthen your body, improve your performance, and reduce your risk of injury. If you stick with the conditioning regimen, you will notice a difference during your games and competitions.
6. Stay hydrated.
Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your health and your athletic performance. Make sure that you stay well hydrated around the clock so that your body is always ready to go. On game days, focus on taking frequent but small sips of water so your body has time to absorb it. If you drink too much at once, it will slosh around in your stomach and then go straight to your bladder. As long as you’re drinking plain water, you can even leave your custom mouth guard in (don’t drink anything else, though, as it will stain the pro mouth guard).
7. Wear layers.
Many extreme sports take place outside, which is why it’s important to dress for the weather. Precipitation such as rain and snow can impact visibility and traction, not to mention drop your body temperature. However, all that physical activity raises your body temperature, which is why you should wear several light layers so you can adjust your clothing accordingly. If you get hot, you can shed a layer. If you get cold, you can add a layer.
8. Listen to your body.
Many extreme sports athletes try to play through the pain, loath to drop out of a competition or game. All that pumping adrenaline can also make it hard to realize how much you’ve hurt yourself — until you push yourself too far. Try to stay in touch with your body during workouts and games. If you feel like you are too injured or exhausted to continue, stop playing. If you are injured, continuing to play without first getting proper treatment can worsen the injury and greatly lengthen your recovery time.
9. Rehabilitate any injuries.
In a perfect world, no one would ever get injured while playing extreme sports, but real life simply doesn’t work that way. If you do get injured, it’s normal to feel the urge to get back to normal as soon as you start feeling better, but try to resist that temptation, because it’s really important to follow through on your physical therapy regimen and to let your body heal completely before putting it through the stress of extreme sports.
If you try to do too much too soon, you risk re-injuring yourself, potentially even worse than before. If the injury is severe enough, you might not be able to play again, so it’s better to take your time to completely rehabilitate any injuries than to risk that outcome.
Follow these tips to protect yourself from extreme sports injuries. Trust us; it’s so much easier to prevent an injury in the first place than it is to recover from one!
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