Playing sport is good for both your physical and mental wellbeing. As well as helping you to stay fit and maintain a healthy weight, scientists have shown that sport has many positive benefits for your mental health. So how can you prevent getting injured?

Why stay active?

Physical activity triggers brain chemicals that make you feel happier and more relaxed. It reduces levels of stress hormones in your body and stimulates the production of endorphins. It improves the quality of your sleep, helping you fall asleep faster. Researchers report a myriad of other benefits too, from improving self-confidence and judgement through to developing a team mindset.

The downside of participating in sport is that it can increase your risk of getting injured, particularly in the case of high impact and combat sports.

Here in the clinic, we treat many different types of sports injuries, some of which could be prevented.

Of course, we are keen to encourage our patients to remain fit and active and to continue experiencing the many benefits of sport, but we recommend taking steps to reduce the risk of injury.

These include:

1. Doing regular exercise

Injuries often occur when you are out of condition or returning to sport or exercise after a break. It can be tempting to try and pick up where you left off without taking time to build up your fitness levels again, but this is a mistake. Maintaining a good level of fitness can help you to avoid becoming injured. If you are returning to exercise after a break, build up slowly and stop if you feel tired.

2. Warming up

The reason that professional coaches and instructors insist on a thorough warm-up is that it increases the blood flow to the muscles which helps to prevent them becoming damaged. It is particularly important to warm up thoroughly in cold weather when muscles are even more susceptible to injury.

3. Developing good technique

Another common cause of injury is poor technique. Working with a professional instructor can help you to develop good habits from the outset and avoid injury.

4. Wearing the correct clothing and footwear

When you run, your weight increases by three times due to the force of the impact. If you are not wearing the correct footwear, which can help to absorb some of this impact, you are likely to develop injuries. Do not skimp on the cost of footwear and makes sure you seek advice from a sportswear specialist who will be able to help you choose shoes that fit properly and meet your current and future aspirations.

5. Consider having a sports medicine assessment

If you are prone to injuries or want to reach your potential more quickly, attending Beacon Hospital’s Sports Medicine Programme could help. The hospital has a high performance sports lab with VO2 Max and Isokinetic Strength Training.

It provides physiological performance testing which can tailor a training plan for you based on your individual physiological performance. The tests are comprehensive and detailed, including: body composition analysis, a cardio-pulmonary exercise test, wattbike analysis, functional threshold power test and resting metabolic rate test. You will receive detailed personal results and an explanation of what this means for your training/exercise programme.

If you develop a sport-related injury, contact us for advice, including diagnosis and treatment.