#1 – Communicate with your caregivers and coaches
If something feels off, always share this with your caregivers or your coaches. Don’t wait until the pain is unbearable, make sure you communicate if you feel a little sore, achy, tired, dizzy, or off in some other way. Some sensations are naturally part of sport and exercise, but an adult can help you figure out whether what you are feeling is normal or a reason for concern. It’s much easier to prevent serious injury if you catch the warning signs early, and make adjustments like tweaking your form, getting new shoes, or strengthening weak muscles.
#2 – Get a preseason physical
It’s always a good idea to get regular check-ups with your doctor, especially before you begin a new activity or sport. The doctor can help identify any conditions you need to address.
#3 – Mix it up!
Play a variety of sports or participate in different kinds of activities so that you challenge your body in different ways. This will help avoid putting stress on the same muscles and joints all the time and will help you build a well-balanced body.
#4 – Don’t skip the warm up
Before jumping into a sport or activity, spend some time doing a warm up like jumping jacks, leg swings, skipping, and stretching. This can help loosen your muscles and get your body ready to move.
#5 – Get adequate sleep
Sleep is one of the most important times for recovery. During sleep your body is busy repairing itself; it restores your bones and muscles. You also need rest between games, practices, and other activities. Non-stop activity can lead to overuse injuries, fatigue, and burnout.
#6 – You are what you eat
Eat to fuel your body, meaning give it plenty of vegetables, fruits, good carbohydrates, and lean protein. Carbohydrates and protein are especially important before and after activity, and carbohydrates are important during activity. Eat well-balanced, evenly-spaced meals so that your body always has what it needs to run smoothly.
#7 – Stay hydrated
Especially during hot, summer months, and high-intensity workouts, staying hydrated is crucial. When you sweat you lose a lot of water, and you need to replace this. Dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion and other serious conditions. Even mild dehydration can impact concentration and energy and increase your risk of injury.
#8 – Use proper equipment
Figure out what protective equipment you need for your sport. Helmets for cycling or skateboarding, pads for contact sports, correct footwear, and other protective gear is important for preventing injuries.
#9 – Learn proper technique and form
In any sport or activity, there are techniques that help ensure safety. The correct form for throwing a softball, jumping on a mountain bike, and doing a yoga pose are all essential for preventing injury.
#10 – Get help right away
If you do get injured, report it right away and get help. Ignoring an injury and hoping it will go away can actually lead to an even more serious injury and a longer recovery time. Getting started on physical therapy or another solution right away is your best chance at getting back in the game as soon as possible.