Endless exercise tips, tricks and fads flood our social media and Google searches daily. It can be difficult to know what to believe. With 1/3 of all childhood injuries occurring during sport, urgency lies in exercise injury prevention. The good news? Most of these injuries are preventable. So, whether you’re a coach, parent, trainer or athlete, we’re here to provide evidence-based data to help steer you in the right direction and stay injury free while exercising.
- DO warm up before exercise. Incorporate light cardio and dynamic stretches - active, moving stretches that stretch the muscle to their full range of motion. Dynamic stretches are ideal before exercise because they promote blood flow and prep your muscles and ligaments for safe performance. Aim for a 5-10-minute warm-up and 10-12 repetitions of each exercise. Examples include jumping jacks, walking lunges, arm circles.
- DON’T underestimate the importance of exercise order. Start with large muscle group exercises (squat, leg press) before moving onto smaller muscle group exercises (triceps dip, push-up). Best practice is to begin with legs, move onto shoulders and arms, and end with core (sit-ups, bicycles).
- DON’T do the same thing each day. Change up your exercise routine to avoid overuse injuries and overconfidence which could lead to choosing too heavy a weight, too many repetitions, improper form and a potential injury.
- DO cool down post exercise. Incorporate 5-10 minutes of static stretching - stretches that are held for 15-30 seconds. These stretches lengthen muscles and support recovery. Examples include downward dog, butterfly or seated toe touch.
- DO create an exercise diary. Document how your body feels before and after exercise. Notice pain? Rest, restart slowly and progress from there. Learning to listen to your body is the sign of a self-aware athlete!
Finally, remember to seek out evidence-based research surrounding exercise and injury prevention to keep yourself and your athletes safe.
- Hoffman, J. (2012). National Strength and Conditioning (NCSA's) Guide to Program Design. Human Kinetics.
- Katella, K. (2019, January 29). Kids' sports injuries: What parents need to know. Yale Medicine. Retrieved December 11, 2022, from https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/kids-sports-injuries
- Maryland Orthopedic Specialists. 9 tips for avoiding injuries while exercising. 9 Tips for Avoiding Injuries While Exercising: Maryland Orthopedic Specialists: Orthopedic Surgeons. Retrieved December 11, 2022, from https://www.mdorthospecialists.com/blog/9-tips-for-avoiding-injuries-while-exercising
- Veigel, Jake D.1; Pleacher, Michael D.2. Injury Prevention in Youth Sports. Current Sports Medicine Reports: November 2008 - Volume 7 - Issue 6 - p 348-352. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31818f06e7