Wellness Tips from Somerset Medical Center Sports Medicine
With the fall season fast approaching, students across the state are gearing up to head to their respective gyms and fields for fall sports try outs and practice sessions, eager to start up with fall favorites, including football, cross country, cheerleading, field hockey, gymnastics, volleyball, and soccer. With preseason now underway, it’s important to remind your athletes to stay safe. Help your athletes incorporate the following tips into their practices and exercise routines to make sure they’re ready to shine on game day.
- Always warm-up. Warm-ups are crucial components of all sports activity, as they prepare athletes’ bodies for the work they’re about to do. Especially with the onslaught of conditioning that takes place during pre-season, athletes need to stretch, work their joints, and continually build up to the most intense parts of their workouts. High knees, butt kicks and shuffles are three great, dynamic stretches to start with, but a full comprehensive warm-up should include about ten different stretches, tailored to your specific sport.
- Focus on strength training. Strength training is important, especially for running intensive sports like soccer, field hockey and cross-country. Many runners believe that running alone will keep their legs tuned up and ready to go; however, muscle imbalance and compensatory activity may occur in the absence of strength training. Squats and lunges are examples of two great exercises that can be integrated into any running program to minimize hip, knee and ankle weakness.
- Learn to identify signs of injury. Make sure your athletes are aware of the severe effects ignoring an injury can have on the body. Young athletes should learn to stop immediately if something hurts and evaluate what’s wrong. This is especially important when it comes to head injury—many athletes don’t realize the severity of concussions. Football, volleyball and soccer are three concussion-prone sports in which athletes must be extremely careful. If a possible injury is expected, athletes should visit their local medical center to determine the severity and proper treatment guidelines.
- Keep the basics in mind. Remember to remind your athletes of the important, basic rules for safe sports activity: Drink lots of water, get plenty of sleep, ice any aches or pains, and eat well-balanced meals every day.
Sports are a great way to stay in shape, encourage teamwork, and most importantly, have fun! If your athletes keep these important wellness tips in mind as their fall seasons start up, they’ll be ready to enjoy their best seasons yet!
Somerset Medical Center Sports Medicine staff includes Certified Athletic Trainers, Licensed Physical Therapists, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialists and Exercise Physiologists who have advanced training and extensive experience in the field of Sports Medicine.