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Injury Prevention


We speak a lot about how to fix an injury once it has happened. People are familiar with acute injury management protocols such as RICE or more accurately PEACE & LOVE.


What if we were to rewind the clock to before these injuries ever happened?

What steps can you take to prevent getting injured at all?


In today's blog we will discuss this topic, exploring how small changes in your daily life can aid in injury prevention as well as adaptations to your exercise regimen to also boost your performance!


Rehab is the process that all patients go through when they come into any physiotherapy clinic. Usually it will consist of regular sessions over the period of a few weeks-months depending on your injury. In these sessions you will receive a mix of hands on treatment and exercise prescription in order to get you back to your peak physical health.


In recent years the word “pre-hab” has been making its way around physio circles. Initially it was reserved for patients who, for example, may be waiting on a hip replacement surgery. Physios would prescribe a set of exercises to a patient pre-op, in order to achieve the max physical health prior to surgery. The thought process behind this is that going into surgery at your best, will allow for optimal results.


So….


With this in mind, why can’t it be applicable to everyone? If exercises can increase the likelihood of better outcomes post surgery, can they increase the likelihood of our muscles performing at their best on a normal day? The answer is yes! Targeted and specific exercises to known areas of weakness are one of the most beneficial things you can do to prevent injuries occurring.


But…


To really make the most out of an injury prevention program, you must take a holistic approach. Looking at all aspects of our lives to see what and how we can do better to maximize our performance.



1. Healthy and balanced diet.


Ensuring that we eat a balanced diet is important for all aspects of our lives. In terms of injury prevention, eating enough protein is of utmost importance. Protein synthesis is the way in which our bodies utilize protein to help with muscle growth and repair.


2. Drinking enough water.


Water has countless beneficial effects. After all, our bodies are 60% water. Keeping hydrated will help to reduce tension and soreness. It will help to flush out toxins and also carries nutrients around the body which aid in repair.


3. Getting enough sleep.


During sleep the muscles release amino acids, the building blocks of protein, into the bloodstream at an increased rate as opposed to while we are awake and active. Over time this helps with the growth of muscles. We also release growth hormones during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep which helps with muscle repair.





4. Different disciplines of exercise.


Exercise can be broken into:

Strength training - lifting weights, using resistance bands.

Cardio/endurance training - running, walking, dancing, swimming.

Proprioception - awareness of where you are in space. This aids in balance, preventing future falls. Think of Single leg exercises such as single leg deadlift.

Flexibility - stretching, yoga.

By ensuring your physical activity programme has elements of all of these types of exercise, you will be in the best position to prevent future injury.


5. Warm up and cool down.


Time and time again, we have heard about the importance of warming up and cooling down, but sometimes the urge to throw on your trainers and hit the pavement is too strong. Next time you want to exercise without warming up, think of the following: By warming up, we increase the oxygen supply around the bloodstream. Oxygen prevents lactic acid build up aka, cramp, allowing you to exercise at your highest level with any niggles arising. Cooling down on the other hand helps to regulate blood flow. This enables gradual recovery of pre-exercise heart rate. It also allows for muscles to return to optimal lengths at a safe rate.


6. Listening to your body.


Probably the most important of this list. Our bodies are amazing at giving warning signals to us to highlight areas of potential weakness or future injury. If you are intune with your body this allows you to get ahead of the injury and ramp up all of these tips and tricks before it's too late!



Actively taking the steps to prevent injuries is a great way not only to keep you on the pitch or in the gym, but also to ensure you are in tune with your body and living a healthy lifestyle. To get further guidance on how you can start preventing injuries, book in today!




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