10 Apr 2018
More than 100 countries recognise chess as a sport and it’s remarkably free of head-high tackles, concussions, and broken ankles. In fact, most chess players go their entire career without a single anterior cruciate ligament injury.
However, if your idea of sport doesn’t involve endless pontificating over bishops and knights, chances are you’re going to run around a bit, tackle things, hit things with sticks or generally jump about gainfully in an individual or team environment.
This opens you up for injuries. Unfortunately, you won’t see some of these coming; the rest you can consciously avoid by taking a few precautions; 5 to be precise.
If you think you can go straight from flopping on the couch like Al Bundy to sprinting like Usain Bolt, get ready to hop like Bugs Bunny; a pulled muscle won’t be far away.
Warm ups and warm downs are critical to staying fit and they are very different beasts.
A warm-up is NOT stretching; it’s a jog on the spot/treadmill or a few kilometres on an exercycle; anything that warms your body slowly without intensity or tension.
A warm down is stretches and massages to ease traumatised muscles back into a relaxed state.
What’s water got to do with injuries? Plenty! Your muscles need water to operate properly and if they get thirsty, they cramp.
We humans are about 60% water and you want to keep it that way. Sweating is natural – your body’s self-cooling system – but the more you sweat, the more you dehydrate. And if you allow your body to get seriously depleted, cramps may well be the least of your problems.
Drink as much water as your sport allows as often as it allows.
There are correct ways to run, jump, pass, hit or kick. There are also incorrect ways. Good technique is designed to achieve maximum results with the minimum of effort. Bad technique is a nasty mishmash of overexertion and overextending. Play any sport with poor technique and you’re asking your body to overreact.
Refusing to wear all the protective equipment permitted in your sport is about as clever as driving without a seatbelt. Whether it’s bravado or comfort, you won’t look too flash when any unsecured bit cops a blow that protection could have avoided.
Age is a big factor here. If you’re past your prime, don’t try to play and train like you’re not. Listen to your body and enjoy sporting longevity.
For a start, avoid bouncing. Seek medical advice and don’t meddle with the projected recovery timeframe. If you’re advised to undertake a program of physiotherapy, stick to it and see it through. The worst sports injuries can take a hellishly long time to heal, but patience is the key to the bounce back that will eventually come.
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