While we recommend seeing a chiropractor after a car accident, the most important way to…
Sports are an important part of many people’s lives, whether you’re an athlete or you simply enjoy exercise. They are a fun way to spend time with friends while taking care of your health. However, sports come with their own risks, and engaging in competitive activities without the proper preparation can lead to a quick end to the fun. It’s important to warm up and stretch before you start your game in order to avoid pain and keep the good times rolling. Here are some of our favorite stretches you can do before playing sports that help prevent injury.
Touch your toes stretch
One of the most serious but common injuries that people suffer from due to sports is a pulled hamstring. This can be extremely painful and require a long healing process, sometimes even requiring reparative surgery. In order to avoid this unfortunate accident, it’s important to warm up your hamstrings before you play any sport. One of the best and simplest ways to do this is by touching your toes.
Avoid bending your knees, and bend down as far as you can to the floor. Try a gentle pulsing motion to push yourself farther down, but be sure to move slow and steady and refrain from any sudden movements that may strain your hamstrings before you begin. After you feel stretched out that way, try holding your arm out in front of you and kicking it in a swifter motion. This will really help stretch your hamstrings, and lead to their range of motion increasing for your upcoming game.
Foot to your bottom stretch
Another injury that we often see is a strained quad. This is especially common when the muscles cool down and lock up, which is more usual in colder environments. However, even in the summertime, explosive movements can lead to quad pain. In order to keep your legs warm, you should try a simple foot to bottom exercise before, during, and after your exercise.
Just as the name implies, to perform this stretch you simply bend your knee while standing and hug your foot towards your glutes. This stretch is most effective when you slowly close the gap between your glutes and your foot and stretch your hip and quad a little further at a time. It can be hard to balance for a long period of time on one foot, so holding onto a friend’s shoulder or a wall while you hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds might be a good idea.
Taking after our pink friends, this is another stretch that requires some balance but that will save you pain in the long run. This stretch focuses on warming up your hips, glutes, groin, and quads all at the same time. There are two variations of this stretch, so try them both and see which one feels best for you.
The first way to achieve this stretch is by placing your foot on the opposite quad while bending down in a squat position. Your knee should be out and away from your body. This is harder to balance, but often leads to a deeper stretch than option two. For this easier alternative, you put your foot in the same position, but instead of squatting, grab your foot and pull it gently up towards your chest. Be mindful to avoid over stretching, which you will feel in your knee if you push your limits too far.
Now that your legs are warmed up, you can begin to focus on your arms. A common stretch that many athletes employ is focused on the shoulders, triceps, and lats all at once. Simple to do not only before exercise, this stretch is great for anyone at a desk job or when feeling stiff throughout the day.
Such an effective stretch couldn’t be simpler, involving placing your hand on the back of your neck and with your other hand pulling that elbow towards the opposite shoulder. You should immediately feel a light resistance down your bent arm. You can also gently push your elbow backwards behind you to feel the stretch move towards your back and shoulders.
Many people complain of back pain, not only after sports, but during their day-to-day life. This stretch is one that might be more difficult to do on the field before a match, but practicing it before you arrive and after you return home can provide relief. While it is a yoga pose, even the most rookie yogi can achieve this stretch.
Start by kneeling on the ground and sitting on your feet, then put your arms out in front of you and walk them as far in front of you as you can. Tuck your head down towards the floor and continue to reach your arms. This pose helps lengthen your spine and relieve pressure on your neck. Be sure to continue to breathe slow and deep while in this position in order to achieve the relaxing benefits as well.
Developing good habits
Practicing these stretches is an excellent idea before any intense physical activity. A good way to make sure you remember to warm up and stay safe is by developing a stretching routine that focuses on areas that you will be working the most and that feel good for your body. Going through your personalized routine will help you get in the habit of taking care of your body both before and after sports. Sometimes, even after doing everything you can, injuries occur. If this happens and you’re looking to heal and get back on the field quickly, contact Accident Treatment Centers for help creating a treatment plan customized to your needs.
Contact us here to start your treatment and recovery journey.