Preparing for Spring Sports
The days are growing longer, warmer temperatures are arriving and spring sports season is drawing near. If you're looking forward to lacing up your soccer cleats or heading out on the basketball court this year, our Stittsville physiotherapist also recommend creating a pre-season training regimen customized to your needs, so you'll be ready to compete by tryout day or the season's kickoff.
Whether you play sports at the master level, head to the courts for a regular pickup game with friends or simply aim to live a fit and healthy lifestyle, sports injuries can happen to anyone.
Acquiring an injury can present a major obstacle to your continued fitness, not to mention your season. Being smart about preparing for your season can help you prevent injuries, many of which sideline athletes and have the potential to cause significant pain and discomfort. Here, we'll explain how to safely prepare for an upcoming sports season, list some sports injury prevention tips and explain how physical therapy can help.
How to Safely Prepare for Your Spring Sports Season
There are a few specific measures you can take to get your body ready for your upcoming spring sports season without increasing your risk for injury.
Begin training a few weeks before your season starts.
No matter what chances you have of making a team, you'll need to prepare your body so it's ready for the physical challenges and punishment a season of sports brings. While you may not have been as active through the winter, diving into an intense round of tryouts can have you risking injury unless you train correctly.
We recommend dedicating time to strengthening key muscle groups and engaging in activities that simulate sports movements well before opening day. Spend 2 to 6 weeks of pre-season training preparing your body for the season ahead.
Gear up slowly.
Over-stress injuries are common among athletes who increase their activity levels too quickly after a period of low activity or rest.
That's why it's important to take it easy, listen to your body, and gradually increase your activity levels while maintaining a regular training regimen. Similar to how you'd train for a marathon, slowly increase your distance and your stamina so you'll have endurance for tryouts or the season opener.
Recognize and treat pain and discomfort.
Stretching and using those muscle groups again may have you feeling a little sore as you adapt to your training regimen. That said, there's a risk of this soreness leading to injury if a muscle becomes overstressed.
Do not attempt to play through pain or injury, as you may end up sidelined for an extended period - potentially the season. Instead, we strongly recommend using rest, ice, heat and/or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. You might also consider staggering your workouts and training sessions to exercise different muscle groups while protecting others.
Inspect your sports gear.
If your cleats, gloves or workout gear have seen better days, it's time for an upgrade. Worn out or unsupportive gear or equipment can malfunction and lead to injuries.
Consider physiotherapy at MotionWorks Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre.
If you'd like to improve your athletic performance, prevent injuries or are in the process of recovering from one, physiotherapy can help.
Part of your pre-season sports injury prevention should always involve visiting a physiotherapist for an injury risk assessment.
Pre and post-season physiotherapy assessments at our clinic in Stittsville include a comprehensive examination of how your muscles are balanced to ensure your body is functioning optimally. We can also help with sports injury rehabilitation, by treating both acute and chronic sports injuries with exercises, acupuncture, dry needling, over-the-counter braces and more.
Discuss any previous injuries and your training concerns with your physiotherapist. Together, you can develop an individualized sport-specific exercise program designed to restore proper muscle tension and length in addition to strength and proprioception to reduce your risk of injury and improve overall performance.