5 Tips to Avoid Injury and Remain Active
Injury prone? Or perhaps you’ve never been injured (touch wood) and want to keep it that way! Here are my 5 top tips for staying active by avoiding injury and maximising your body’s brilliance...
Phebe Corey is a physiotherapist and the founder of articfit- joint supportive compression wear. Phebe was a semi-finalist in The Australian Women’s Weekly Women of the Future competition in 2015 for her brand and vision of empowering women to stay active. See www.articfit.com.
Most people are aware that a warm up is recommended, but many people are often pressed for time and want to get straight into their main activity.
A warm-up is important to prepare the body for activity and hence decrease your risk of sustaining an injury by overloading your muscles or joints too quickly.
The best type of warm up consists of a general exercise (like jogging) and exercises involving movement’s specific to the sport (like squats or lunges).
There is conflicting data in regard to the exact duration and intensity a warm up should be, but as a guide your aim should be to produce some mild sweat without feeling tired. The effect of a warm up only lasts 30mins so it is important to time your warm up well, in particular if you are at an event.
Joint strength & taping
Taping and bracing are used to restrict movement that might cause injury. They are often used in rehabilitation from injury as a protective mechanism, however can also be used as a preventative measure in high-risk activities for example ankle taping in agility sports.
However the research conflicts on their use, in particular as some report the muscles may then become used to wearing a brace or tape and you may then become reliant on it, causing a further increase risk or injury if you then do the activity without it.
The best advice would be to work on strengthening your joints specific to your activity and speak with your physio should you like to explore the options of taping or bracing, so they can recommend the appropriate type for you. An example of a strengthening exercise for your ankle joint is to stand on one leg and go up and down on your toes (a calf raise).
Use appropriate equipment
It sounds pretty obvious, but having the right equipment isn’t always that easy. Depending on your chosen activity there is often a high cost for equipment and when starting out you may be just trying to get your hands on anything that works.
However over time if you are using something that is even slightly too big or small, then you tend to have to recruit incorrect muscles to perform the activity. This can lead to you overloading certain muscles or joints, causing an injury.
Unfortunately the more forgiving pieces of equipment are often the more expensive options. Take mountain biking for example. A dual suspension bike will always be more expensive than a hard tail (single suspension) version. But when you are learning, your skills are not as good at controlling the bike, therefore a dual suspension will bounce over things easier, decreasing your risk of falling off.
If it’s something you are planning on doing regularly, I suggest you invest early.
Compression garments are a great adjunct to training. The benefits of compression are well documented, in particular the effect on blood flow and circulation, hence compression garments can also be helpful in reducing injury as well as enhancing recovery. Compression can be worn in the form of compression clothing or in joint support sleeves that target specific joints such as your knees.
articfit pro-active tights combine the concepts of traditional compression tights and joint supports, giving you the best of both worlds! The compression generated through the knitted design aims to increase blood flow at the targeted compression areas, stimulating muscle contraction to provide joint support for reduced injury during and after exercise.
General active wear does not provide any specific benefit to reducing injury, but we know that new workout gear can help to keep you motivated to get out and be active!
Pre-hab is the new rehab
You don’t have to be injured to see a physio. A major role of a physio (that many people don’t realise) is to identify your body’s specific areas of weakness that may pre-dispose you to injury. After a detailed assessment, we can then give you specific exercises that target your weak areas and advise you on what to avoid or how to adapt your current activities. This process is known as pre-habilitation and is a great way to maximise your body’s brilliance and stay active!
Reference: - Brukner, B., & Khan, K. (2009). Clinical Sports Medicine (Revised 3rd ed). Australia: McGraw Hill Companies Inc.