Blog: Injury Hacks! How to minimize your injuries.
The categories we are working through over the coming weeks are:
Today’s blog will cover 5 things you can do right now to decrease injuries:
- Reduce Inflammation
- Lack will weaken your body’s functioning systems
- Linear incidence of injuries
- Muscle warm-up hack
- Percussive therapy
- Today’s bonus
All sports have a risk of injury. All sports teams, trainers, and players require proper education in injury prevention in addition to all the other elements of sports performance.
Let’s start with the power of sleep. Sleep is a necessity for top athletic performance since adults secrete growth hormones primarily during deep sleep. This process is central to protein synthesis, muscle recovery, immune system function, and modulation of your body’s inflammatory response.
Sleep enhances your performance on the day you need it. The sleep you get before a competition can help minimize your inflammation. Competing creates inflammation in the body, and this can become a chronic issue for many athletes. Sleep is about rest and restoration. Many of the highest-level athletes (Roger Federer) sleep 8-12 hours each night. Additionally, strategic daytime naps (~2 hours) are regular routines of top performers. Finely tuned, enduring athletes know the power of recuperative sleep and maintain high standards of discipline in ensuring that nothing interferes with their “rest” time.
Lack will weaken your body’s functioning systems
Shortchanging proper sleep derails your progress. If you are sleeping less than 6 hours a night, your performance can drop around 30%. Your peak muscle strength decreases, your ability to exhale carbon dioxide decreases, and your ability to inhale oxygen decreases. Even your ability to perspire decreases when you don’t get enough sleep. This cascading effect within your body’s critical functioning systems all leads down the path to increasing injuries. No athlete’s talent can outperform a chronic lack of sleep.
Linear incidence of injuries
Athletes who sleep 6 hours or less are increasing their chances of injuries by up to a whopping 80%! Increasing your sleep to 9 hours a night reduces the potential injury rate to only a 15-20% risk. Professional sports teams understand this and give careful thought to training their athletes. Also, a chronic lack of sleep will increase injury recovery time –and, worse, shorten the length of time athletes can remain in their sport. Lack of sleep, especially in women athletes, can lead to lower bone density.
Sleep problems led to mood disturbances and increased general health complaints. Getting enough sleep—at least eight hours—is just as important as proper nutrition and hydration for preventing injuries. Sleep keeps your bones strong and boosts your mood.
During the summer heat, it is critical to stay well hydrated. Most people and many athletes spend the greater portion of their lives dehydrated to some degree. Drinking water before, during, and after workouts regulate your body temperature, delivers nutrients and oxygen to your cells, and removes waste. A fully hydrated body is about 50–65% water (the rest is muscle, bone, organs, and fat).
Staying hydrated can not only boost your immune system but can help avoid the performance-harming effect. Failing to stay hydrated can hinder your sports performance. Even losing just 1% of your body’s water content to sweat and dehydration can make you less effective as an athlete.
As your body loses water during workouts, your muscles can become tense. This interferes with your athletic performance and can make you more likely to injure yourself. Muscle strains, tears, and bone fractures are common effects of exercising with tense cramped muscles. Dehydration makes it difficult for your body to function and move properly, increasing your risk of orthopedic injuries.
The biggest danger from dehydration, however, is heat illness Heat cramps in the stomach, arms and legs are an increased risk of dehydration. Also, the condition of syncope, caused by overexertion in hot weather, is characterized by fatigue and weakness. Heat exhaustion is a more serious complication leading to headaches, weakness, nausea, cramps and sometimes even unconsciousness. Left untreated, syncope or heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, a life-threatening medical emergency.
Finally, remember to listen to your body. Your body will inform you if you’re dehydrated. If you’re dizzy, fatigued, nauseous, or cramping, stop exercising immediately. Get some water and rest to prevent your risk of injuries. These warning signs inform you that it’s time for you to rehydrate. Making fast decisions gets harder when you’re dehydrated, too, and that can put you in harm’s way and lower your performance.
Hydrate before, during, and then continue to hydrate after you compete. Beware of the big brand sports drinks since most are merely non-carbonated sugar water (soda). (Remember sugar comes in many forms and has many names.) Be smart and make healthy choices. Body helix is currently developing a healthy choice sports drink – coming soon.
Muscle warm-up hack
A little trick that I have made a ritual for years now is to get in a warm shower and go through a few routine dynamic stretches before I play. This warming-up of muscles has served me well, and I highly recommend it. It’s simple, quick, and effective. Stretching is key in preventing a sports injury. Stretching, before and after play, helps you relax – mentally and physically.
A common sports injury is an overextension of the joints. Since athletes are running, jumping, and kicking, this puts extra stress on the body. If your muscles, bones, and joints are prepared for the intense activity, they can cope with the extra weight.
In addition to building strength and flexibility, stretching improves balance. Stretching to ensure proper posture will automatically engage your core. Improving your posture (during the entire day) will improve your core and overall athletic performance. Without proper post-exertion stretching and recovery, we’re just sabotaging our next workout and risking injury. Get it done.
Reduce muscle tension and prep your body for a great game with percussive therapy. Deep muscle treatment is important to reduce potential injuries. There are many massage units on the market today from which to choose. These units are commonplace in a professional athlete’s toolkit.
Percussive therapy is good for you if used correctly and safely. It can help relax tight muscles, break up scar tissue and adhesions, and minimize muscle soreness and tension. Percussive therapy is as effective as massage in preventing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). It improves flexibility. It increases blood circulation and improves lymphatic flow.
You can increase mobility and activate the stretch reflexes more efficiently before performing high-intensity percussive pre-workouts. Post-workout percussive sessions can enhance muscle recovery, release stress and tension, and soothe discomfort.
From body helix CEO, Tom Parker MD: How can a compression wrap help with arthritis? https://bodyhelix.com/can-compression-wrap-help-arthritis/ Check out this previous blog by Dr. Tom Parker on the value of using compression to help with arthritis. It’s just one of the ways our body helix team helps you move through it. For more information please visit https://bodyhelix.com/blog/
It is my greatest hope that you will implement some tips from our Bio-Cultivating and Neural-Cultivating blogs. Further, it is my hope you will be inspired to pass these learnings along to family and friends. We all have people in our lives who have the desire but lack the accurate information to improve their health. It is frustrating to sift through the bombardment of data and the misinformation in today’s world. It’s no wonder some give up in frustration. I believe that we deserve the healthiest choices that honest modern science can offer. It is my mission to help as many of us as possible get and stay healthy.
As a tennis coach myself, I found the compression industry to be unacceptable for our needs. I set out on a journey to help you and your students. I know we all get beat up. The harder we compete, the more we get injured. All compression is not created equal! At Body Helix, we start with an unapologetic obsession for exceptional quality. Our design philosophy is to create modern, innovative gear that surpasses that which is offered in the global marketplace. As a privately held, Veteran-owned, North Carolina company we challenge global leaders to elevate their compression game or step aside. It’s compression gear, designed by tennis players, for tennis players.
Be well and stay focused on cultivating your health, your mind, and your solitude. If I can help you further never hesitate to reach out to me.
Move Through It.