Sport can be incredibly rewarding, empowering and community building. Unfortunately, it also comes with risks. The more sport you play, the more likely you are to get injured.
On the other hand, if you don't play sport or exercise, you are much more likely to end up with a number of chronic health diseases.
How do we strike a balance and how do we know when we need to seek help?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends adults partake in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity, or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise every week. In addition, they also recommend 2 strength-based training sessions per week.
For adults aged over 65, it is also recommended to complete functional balance exercises at least 3 times per week.
Having a sport we play, and training sessions we attend, can help us to achieve these recommended levels of exercise.
How do we make sure this is sustainable though?
How do we keep ourselves active and injury free throughout the season?
What can we do to minimise our risk of injury or illness?
1) Ensure you have a good warm-up routine.
A good warm-up is the foundation of preparing your body to perform well and stay healthy.
A warm-up should consist of cardio exercise, dynamic stretches, any injury specific stretches you have been given, and sport specific skill-based drills.
This might look like running, sprinting, sidesteps, high knees, a-skips and a jumping landing routine. It may involve lunges, squats, hopping, leg swings and arm swings.
Sport specific skill-based drills may include a team ball drill, throwing or kicking drill or a space or game-based run through.
It is vital to perform these steps at n intensity that reflects how you want your body to start the game. This is where your heart and lungs become ready themselves for the work you need to perform, and your muscles and joints become springy and ready to go.
A good warm-up not only reduces the risk of sprains and strains, but it also helps you perform better and increases reported enjoyment in team sport.
2) Train at the same intensity you play.
Keeping in line with the WHO exercise recommendations, training is an essential part of playing sport.
Something that is rarely talked about is the intensity in which you should be approaching your training. A good program will have focusses on different aspects of skills and conditioning, and will allow peaks and troughs in loading and work.
It is vital however, that each training, you are focussed and completing the tasks with the same intensity that you need to complete them at the game.
We know that most injuries occur in a game situation. They occur under fatigue and speed, and more often than not, distraction.
The skills you perform in a game, need be practiced under fatigue and at speed. They need to be practiced with people around you, noise and the same distractions you would have in a game (sideline noise, game noise, opposition, teammate positioning, time pressure).
It is good to have peaks and troughs in the overall training load, but attention must always be paid to how you are moving and your ability to maintain your control of the skill under game conditions.
If you don't
have team training, it is important to get out during the week and condition your body in between games.
3) Listen to your body and rest when needed.
In the pursuit of athletic excellence, it's easy to get caught up in the "no pain, no gain" mentality. However, pushing your body beyond its limits or not giving it adequate recovery time, can lead to serious injuries and setbacks. Paying attention to your body and responding to its signals is crucial for injury prevention.
These signals may tell you to take a week off. They may tell you that you need to have a lighter session, or it may be craving a particular type of exercise or movement.
Your body will also tell you when it needs fuel. Intuitive eating and fuelling your body with the right stuff, is vital.
For extra help with your nutrition, speak to us about a referral to a dietitian.
Lastly, if you have a niggle or an injury, don't ignore it.
Come and seek our help. We wont stop you playing if we can help it, and we will boost your performance and longevity in sport.
We are here to support your sporting and exercise endeavours. There is nothing we love more than seeing you excel.
We want you to love how you move and be safe doing it.