For some folks, there is nothing quite like participating in some form of athletics. Whether it’s for healthy exercise or competitive fulfillment, the wide world of athletics is a great outlet for human beings and human bodies everywhere. A long nature bike ride, a weekly game of pickup basketball, a company softball league, or even just a routine morning swim; the joy of moving your body around, exerting effort and focus on the physical task at hand is a privilege and a passion for many people. It rewards our body and our mind, with strength, stability, and mental clarity.

But participating in any form of athletics does come with some risk too. Obviously some forms, like competitive sports or high-agility workouts are riskier than others in terms of strains or injury. But in reality, any form of athletic exertion comes with a potential risk of injury, simply because our bodies can only handle so much at times. Luckily, there are incredible sports therapy clinics out there, like Kim Ethier Massage and Sports Therapy, that specializes in effective sports injury therapy and sports massage services. While Kim Ethier should be your go-to sports therapy clinic in Ottawa and Portland, we want to provide some tips on how to prevent those pesky athletic injuries in the first place! Keep reading to learn just five simple ways you can prepare your body better!  

Warm Up!

While it might seem like a no-brainer, sometimes we get so excited to get on the field or on the equipment, that we forget to take the time beforehand to properly warm up. Regardless of whatever sport or athletic activity you are pursuing, diving straight into intensive exertion or exercise without warming up will increase your likelihood of injury exponentially. Your muscles need to get some more blood flow, you need to incrementally stretch out tendons and ligaments, and essentially you need to prepare your body to push itself past its usual state of exertion. That way, when you start to push your muscles closer to their limits as you exert more, your body doesn’t have to go from 0 to 100, real quick.

Fuel Your Body

Just like any kind of car or airplane, your body runs on a fuel of sorts. And just like any sort of vehicle, the less fuel you consistently have in the tank, the worse your body will perform. The amount of water our bodies need is surprisingly high, and a lot of folks are often dehydrated when they don’t even know it or feel thirsty. Skipping lunch just happens sometimes, but when you skip a meal and try to exert your body, the fuel your body draws on to exert itself isn’t there. And just like a car without oil or fuel, trying to operate the vehicle at peak performance is ineffective at best, and can damage the car at worst. Don’t try to exert your body without the proper fuel in your tank, and risk athletic injury.

Don’t Act Tough

While competitive sports might attract more of the tough guy/tough girl persona, there is an inherent “fight through the pain” nature of any form of athletic exertion. The very nature of exertion is pushing your body a little farther, partially embodying that “no pain, no gain” attitude. But in reality, the more you play through pain, the more likely that you can injure yourself. Your lungs might burn during a run, or your joints feel a little achy as you start your bike ride, but other types of pain are not something that you should power through. Pain is literally a signal to the brain that whatever is happening to you hurts, and that you should stop it because it could be damaging your body. If you have a slight twinge in your ankle when you step, or your back occasional spasms while you are biking, fighting through that pain could actually make it worse. For any little injury, sports therapy experts like the ones at Kim Ethier are a great resource.

Use The Right Gear

The right gear and equipment are critical for protecting your body from the damage it can cause to itself. While this isn’t the case for every form of athletic exertion, it’s very important for some. As much as you might love your ratty old tennis shoes that your mom bought for you 10 years ago, the kinetics of running require certain support on your feet. A 10-year-old pair of tennis shoes not only have limited support and worn down padding but when you try to run and entrust them to support your feet, they could fail to meet that level and could cause you injury. While the right gear can sometimes be expensive, if it prevents injury, it is always worth it.

Take Time Off 

For some of us, this might be a no brainer, as we might still feel the aches of an athletic workout from days ago. But for others, who rely on working out as stress relief, or who are training for something, it might feel like a cop-out or like you are letting yourself down if you take the day of the week off. But in reality, just like you need sleep to recover from being awake, you need to give your body a rest from exerting itself. Overexertion is a common experience for many athletically inclined people, but as much as you might want to limit the time you take off, you could be sidelined for much longer with an injury if you don’t take some time off. Take a day or two off, and get a rehabilitative massage from your local sports therapy clinic.

Sports Therapy from Kim Ethier Massage and Sport Therapy

Being able to athletically exert yourself is a privilege that we might take for granted — until an injury takes away that privilege. However, there are a number of steps you can take to avoid injury in the first place. Just like any unfortunate event that might happen to you, it’s not always in your control. But the more attention you pay to these things, the less likely you will experience an athletic injury.

But on the chance that you do injure yourself, or you want to take your injury prevention to the next level, Kim Ethier Massage and Sports Therapy has you covered. We offer a number of effective massage and sports therapy services, designed to provide the rehabilitation or prevention that your body needs. Call today to set up your next appointment with us and start treating your body right!