Aching joint and stiff muscles are common effects after activity/sport. If ignored further activity can cause minor damage which will lead to injury, this will then stop you from training the way you would like to. Injury prevention is extremely important for anyone involved in sport Bespoke Injury management believes it can hugely benefit older athletes who are still competing at any level of sport and exercise.
If you are competing in your sport between the ages of 30-70 years old a regular visit to a Sports Therapist can keep you in shape allowing you to continue competing in your sport/exercise. An effective way of maintaining muscle flexibility and muscle condition is through sports massage, which helps prevent muscle strains. A sports therapist can also identify weaker areas in your muscles which would benefit from strengthening exercises and thus prevent injuries.
A warm up will prepare the body for exercise. The type of exercise to be performed determines the type of warm up. The most effective warm up consists of both general and specific exercises. General exercises may include jogging, general stretching and resistance exercises. Specific exercises include stretches and movements that are appropriate for the particular activity to be undertaken.
The benefits of a warm up prior to physical activity include:
- Increased blood flow to muscles
- Increased circulation leading to decreased vascular resistance
- Increased oxygen delivery to muscles
- Increased release of oxygen from myoglobin
- Increased speed of nerve impulses
- Decreased number of injuries due to increased range of motion
- Decreased stiffness of connective tissue leading to decreased likelihood of tears
- Increased relaxation and concentration
- Increased cardiovascular response to sudden strenuous exercise
Taping and Bracing
Taping or strapping is used to restrict undesired, potentially harmful motion and allow desired motion. There are two main indications for the use of tape and strapping. Prevention- Taping is used as a preventive measure in high risk activities, for example Basketball/Netball player’s ankles, where ankle sprains are very common in these sports. Rehabilitation- Taping is used as a protective mechanism during the healing and rehabilitation phases.
There is good evidence to suggest that taping may prevent reinjuries in athletes with a history of a previous ankle sprain. The joints most suitable for taping are the ankle, wrist, finger and acromioclavicular joint.
Psychology and Injury Prevention
Excessive psychological arousal can not only impair sporting performance but is also likely to increase the risk of injury. Over arousal is associated with impairment of natural technique, which a player may describe as loss of rhythm. Loss of concentration can also predispose to injury by giving the athlete less time to react to cues. This is clearly a risk in contact sports. For example an over aroused tennis player who does not react optimally to an opponent’s serve will then be forced to return from a biomechanically poor position, which increases stress on certain muscle groups.
Nutrition and Injury Prevention
Inadequate nutrition may increase risk of injury due to its effects on recovery. Inadequate glycogen repletion causes a reliance on fat and protein stores and this may result in increased protein break down which in turn may lead to soft tissue injury. There are several mechanisms by which inadequate dietary protein intake may lead to muscle injury. Intense training causes skeletal muscle breakdown which can be exacerbated by inadequate dietary protein. Inadequate hydration may compromise blood flow to working muscles, which may increase susceptibility to injury. Hydration is thought to influence the amount and composition of joint fluid, which helps to nourish articular cartilage.