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FOUNDATION OF VICTORIA
Warm up to Exercise
The health benefits of regular exercise are well recognised. One popular and enjoyable way improving health and fitness is through active involvement in sport. The wide range of sporting activities available allows everyone to participate, no matter what their age, temperament or degree of fitness.
However, regardless of your level of sporting achievement, there is always the risk of an injury which could put an unexpected stop to your enjoyment. In the long term there is also the possibility of the development of arthritis following severe or recurrent injury to a joint.
Many injuries can be prevented
Sporting injuries can be roughly divided into 3 categories.
Number one rule to prevent injury - warm up
Warm up is a preparation for more vigorous activity and is essential before training and competition.
Muscles, tendons and joints are more flexible and function more efficiently when they are warm. It is not enough to assume muscles and joints are warm just because the weather is warm. Warming up involves at least 15 minutes of continuous activity using large muscles groups to redistribute blood flow to where it is more needed. Combined with gentle stretching of large muscle groups, warming up improves performance and reduces the risk of injury.
A cool down involving similar stretching and gentle aerobic activity after strenuous exercise is known to minimise muscle soreness.
General rules to prevent injury
Improve general fitness
Learn good technique and train specifically
Nourish your body
Sports requiring a large expenditure of energy need good nourishment. A diet consisting of wholegrain products, fruit and vegetables and which is low in fats and sugar provides plenty of nutrients to your body and sustains energy levels.
Listen to your body
You can prevent more serious injuries occurring by listening to previous warning signals. A period of rest or simple treatment may allow a minor injury to heal quickly. Also, it is important to have adequate rest as overtiredness can lead to injury.
Use protective equipment
Unnecessary injury can be avoided by the use of protective equipment such as mouthguards, helmets, shin shields and supportive footwear. Discuss this with a qualified coach.
If injury does occur
Overuse injuries generally require rest to allow the body time to heal itself. Further problems may be prevented by adjusting your training program, technique or equipment. Talk to your trainer or physiotherapist.
Stop activity and apply R.I.C.E.D
Sudden injuries require immediate attention
Rest Resting the injured part prevents further damage and allows time for healing.
Ice Frequent application (10-20 minutes every hour) of an ice pack (or pack of frozen peas) wrapped in a towel reduces pain and swelling over the first 24-48 hours.
Compression A moderately firm bandage helps control bleeding and swelling
Elevation Reduction of swelling is improved by raising the injured part above the heart level.
Diagnosis If the injury is severe or does not respond within a few hours, seek professional advice for correct diagnosis and most appropriate treatment. There are a number of doctors and physiotherapists specialising in sports medicine.
If you have arthritis you can still play sport, but...