sports injuries can be prevented with our 7 tips

Sports injuries – 7 tips to keep you exercising

The more we exercise, the higher the probability of getting hurt. Sports injuries are not a question of “if we get hurt,” but “when we do.”

It is possible to workout smart and avoid sports injuries. Things that will help include: tapping an expert, warming up, fueling your body right, not over-doing it, having the right gear, learning and planning for your sport, and most importantly listening to your body.

Of course, you might have been exercising for years without any incidents, but according to research 19% of CrossFit devotees get injured during workouts and 79% of track and field athletes encounter injuries going from stress fractures to shin splints.[1]Weisenthal BM, Beck CA, Maloney MD, DeHaven KE, Giordano BD. Injury Rate and Patterns Among CrossFit Athletes. Orthop J Sports Med. 2014;2(4):2325967114531177. Published 2014 Apr 25. … Continue reading[2]Weisenthal BM, Beck CA, Maloney MD, DeHaven KE, Giordano BD. Injury Rate and Patterns Among CrossFit AthletesOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. April 2014. doi:10.1177/2325967114531177 So let’s take preventative action!

Tap an expert – hire a personal trainer

Whether you are starting out or need to reassess your exercise regimen, getting a personal trainer can be very instructive and motivational.

With your exercise coach you can get started with the best plan to achieve your personal objectives, whether it’s building up muscle, running a marathon or losing pregnancy weight.

In addition, your trainer can show you how to properly perform moves to avoid sports injuries. Even movements as common as pushups and lunges can lead to injuries if not done properly. A qualified trainer can correct your posture, tell you which muscles to flex and get you on the right track.[3]Waryasz GR, Daniels AH, Gil JA, Suric V, Eberson CP. Personal Trainer Demographics, Current Practice Trends and Common Trainee Injuries. Orthop Rev (Pavia). 2016;8(3):6600. Published 2016 Oct 3. … Continue reading

Choose a fitness coach specialized in the type of activity you are interested in and whose personality appeals to you. It’s important you trust their expertise and enjoy their company.

Prevent sports injuries by warming up

It’s typical that once we get comfortable with our exercise routine we tend to minimize the importance of warming up. That’s quite a mistake. Warming up our body is important in mitigating the risk of sports injuries.

So don’t jump on the treadmill or start pumping iron cold. Your muscles and tendons will be tight if you don’t get them ready to workout.

Moreover, an overextended or twisted joint would hurt your training plan. So instead of rushing into your session, warm up with a little stretching, mobility moves or by starting with very small weights.[4]Herbert R D, Gabriel M. Effects of stretching before and after exercising on muscle soreness and risk of injury: systematic review BMJ 2002; 325 :468 doi:10.1136/bmj.325.7362.468

Related: Can you skip warming up before working out?

Fuel your body right

Ever tried to go on an intense run a few hours after having a big juicy hamburger for lunch? If you have, you know that the feeling of the food trying to climb back up your esophagus isn’t the best.

Depending on the physical activity we are planning, our nutritional needs are going to be different. In terms of sports injury prevention, it’s important that we optimize how good we feel when working out. Not only because we don’t want to throw up our milkshake that came with the burger, we also want our focus to be on doing our moves right rather than our stomach.

On the other hand, running on empty isn’t ideal either. Having the right nutrition two hours before your workout can give your body the fuel to support its performance. Similarly with your hydration, having 2 cups of water two hours before your workout is a good idea.[5]Ormsbee MJ, Bach CW, Baur DA. Pre-exercise nutrition: the role of macronutrients, modified starches and supplements on metabolism and endurance performance. Nutrients. 2014;6(5):1782-808. … Continue reading

Related: What & when to eat before exercise

Don’t over do it

We’re pumped and we want to see results quickly! Yet if we overexert our body we increase our risk for sports injuries drastically.

When beginning, keep your workout routine sustainable and safe by starting slow or with lower intensity workouts. A good session doesn’t have to tire you out. When you are focused on your moves and activating your muscles properly, even 20 minutes is enough to see results.

Another way to go about it is to use your baseline intensity level according to the perceived exertion scale, which assesses your physiological response to exertion.

Have the right gear to avoid sports injuries

Although looking good won’t hurt, this isn’t about brands and wearing the latest fitness leggings. Quantity of sports injuries are the result of using the wrong equipment.

What you need to pay close attention to is the equipment that is especially tailored for your sport. Good examples are biking shorts and running shoes, these are specifically design to enable performance and reduce injury.[6]Vriend I, Gouttebarge V, Finch CF, Van mechelen W, Verhagen EALM. Intervention Strategies Used in Sport Injury Prevention Studies: A Systematic Review Identifying Studies Applying the Haddon … Continue reading

Quality gear doesn’t have to be expensive. Look for off brands or shop during sales, just make sure it’s right for your body and exercise type, especially for footwear.

Get tactical – learn & plan for your sport

As mentioned above, getting a trainer is a great way to get started, but don’t just let yourself be guided. Learn from your coach and understand the logic behind his plan.

No matter which sport you’re into, whether it’s rock climbing or CrossFit, understanding the technical aspects enables you to plan and train better. From how the requirements on the body, how to properly perform moves, to the proper foods to fuel your workouts… it all contributes to making you better and reducing your risk of sports injuries.

So choose a book, podcast or magazine specialized in your sport and enjoy it while sipping a Golden Milk. Bonus, you will also increase your sports trivia knowledge.

Sports injuries’ golden rule: listen to your body.

“Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” is a great Daft Punk song to blast during your routine, but if it’s accompanied by your cries of pain, it’s time to take a break.

Yes, not all workouts are easy and fun. They can be really hard, but if they feel like agony then something’s wrong. Don’t forget that pain, aches and cramps are a way for your body to communicate.

Listen to what your body is saying and either rest or find alternative moves. Pushing through discomfort can be fine, but if you’re experiencing pain it’s a different story. For example, If you keep running while feeling aching in your hip, your body might try to adjust, leading to additional pain in your knee or ankle.

So instead of trying to be strong and courageous, be attentive to what your body is trying to tell you.

Key takeaways

  • When we exercise frequently, even if we are in top shape there’s always a risk of getting injured.
  • It is possible to reduce our risk of sports injuries by:
    • Learning with a personal trainer and planning a routine adapted to our abilities.
    • Warming up properly before each workout session.
    • Eating the foods that will support our effort in terms of nutrition and hydration.
    • Working out at the appropriate intensity level without overexerting ourselves.
    • Using gear appropriate for our sport and morphology.
    • Getting knowledgeable about our sports and our body.
    • Listening to our body and pain signals.

Related: Lactic acid vs lactate: why are muscles sore after working out?


*Be mindful about your health. This article is provided for informational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.