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  • Writer's pictureBankstown Physiotherapy

Jim's Tips: How to prevent injury this summer sporting season

With the weather heating up in Sydney this week, it is clear that summer is on its way, and it's going to be a hot one. And with the transition into summer comes the summer sporting season, where cricket, cycling, and swimming become popular ways to exercise and keep fit over the summer break.

There's no doubt that the summer sport is a great way to keep in touch with friends, meet new people and keep active. However, we often see a large increase in injuries within our clinic during this time due to poor stretching and exercising technique which can turn a fun-filled summer into a bedridden vacation.

Today, we sat down with Jim and found out his top seven tips for surviving summer injuries!

TIP #1 - Stretch first, stretch some more, and then stretch again.

"I cannot stress the importance of this enough," Jim says "Stretching is a way for us to ease our bodies into intensive exercise. If we don't stretch out muscles our body will get tired faster and we can get hurt more easily"

Jim tells us that stretching is a way of introducing the muscles into the fast and tight movements that they will be making during physical activity. He explains that stretching before exercise, during breaks, and after exercise is extremely important as it means that the muscles, which function as an elastic band, will be able to perform to their full capacity.

He explains that if we don't stretch we are more likely to grow stiff during physical activity which can lead to a wide range of painful muscle injuries.

TIP #2 - Always play by the rules

This is particularly common for team sports, especially those where contact can lead to injuries such as breaks and strains. Jim says "the rules of sports are there for a reason... to make sure that we don't get hurt." He says that not only do the rules ensure a fair game, but they are able to ensure that harm and injury are maintained at a minimum.

Jim says that on many occasions, those injuries that are more severe, such as large breaks or long-term muscle damage, are the result of acting out on the court or field as this is where players can lose their focus and may accidentally hurt themselves or others.

TIP #3 - It's okay to take a break

"Progress should not equal pain," Jim says. "It's okay to push yourself to meet new goals, but it shouldn't mean that you hurt your body," Jim recommends taking a break once every 30-60 minutes in order to allow your muscles and joints time to relax. This will reduce the likelihood of the muscles growing stiff and can hence prevent injuries such as strains, sprains and potential breaks.

TIP #4 - Adults make sure you're watching

There are so many occasions that we see children coming into the clinic after they have fallen off equipment such as trampolines, or hurt themselves after attempting dangerous stunts into a pool. We understand that parents cannot be around at all times, however, if your child is playing and you have the opportunity to watch, we recommend it is a good idea, not only for their safety.

"We can't stop all injuries, but we can try to prevent as many as we can," said Jim after being asked how to prevent injuries in young children. "As physiotherapists, we should be working together with the parents to make sure that their children are safe and comfortable during sport and treatments."

TIP #5 - Helmets are not accessories

So many people that we speak to in the clinic still do not understand the true importance of helmets when riding bicycles. No matter how good your balance, a split second, or a hole in the road can lead to falls that may damage large areas of the neck and skull.

It is important that parents, older siblings and role models are wearing helmets and promoting a culture of safety with the younger generations, as they are more likely to ride safely if it is introduced to them from a young age. "Helmets might not look pretty, but they are pretty good at saving lives," Says Jim.

TIP #6 - Drink lots and lots and lots of water

A common summer injury, especially in young people, many individuals experience nausea, fainting, and confusion due to dehydration. "Drinking water is the most important thing that you can do when playing sport." Says Jim.

TIP #7 - Seek Treatment

"When you're in pain, it is important to find out why and to fix it," Jim recommends that all people who participate in sport, whether it's with a team or individually, seek treatment if they have injuries that persist or are causing them pain. He says that this is the fastest way to ensure that you will be able to get back to the game and have an active summer.

"Don't wait to get treated, the faster you see us, the faster you can get back out there."

For more information, or to make an appointment, contact us at 97933119 or visit our website

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