The musculoskeletal (MSK) system is made of an intricate network of muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments that help us perform the activities of daily life. It enables our physical movement as well as providing form, support and stability to our bodies. Injuries to any of these structures, or a combination of these, can cause pain and loss of function. For elite athletes whose training schedule is often very rigorous, injury may have a profound impact on their ability to train, and ultimately perform, during competition. Preventing injury is essential; however, for most, injuries are generally due to the nature of the sport performed. This is why most elite athletes or teams employ dedicated healthcare providers to care for, and assist them, during training and competition. This support is also directly offered on-site in mass games, including the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in Toronto. As you’ve been watching the Games, you may have even seen a few of the Medical Services Team volunteers on standby, including nearly 140 volunteer chiropractors who are helping to manage the athletes’ injuries.
Everyone can benefit from physical activity, but there are associated risks, including MSK injuries. Your healthcare team, including chiropractors, can help you just as much as they do elite athletes to remain active and healthy. Here are some tips to help you do just that:
Even though the weather might be hot outside, your body benefits from a light warm-up before starting any physical activity. Preparing your MSK system can help prevent injury or recurrence of previous injury. Your warm-up routine may include deep breathing, gentle stretching, activity specific movement preparation, range of movement exercises and light cardiovascular activity such as a brisk walk or easy jog.
In sports, practicing proper technique will not only improve your skill, it may help you prevent injury. Not paying attention to your technique and form can create bad habits that can be difficult to correct and place additional strain on your body. You also want to ensure that you have the proper equipment to support and protect you as you engage in your physical activities. Your chiropractor can help you determine your specific needs and provide you with recommendations.
Slow and steady
Consistency is key! Doing too much, too fast, and too soon, can increase your risk of injury. Ensuring you train progressively can help build a foundation that allows you to do the activities you love pain-free and for a long time. Listen to your body; you may need to take breaks during your activities to ease the physical strain on your body. As you take breaks it is recommended to stay substantially hydrated. Drinking lots of water is a great source of energy for your body and it will allow you to maintain endurance when physically active. Also, adequate rest helps your body restore, replenish and repair tissues that may have become damaged during training or play. Keeping your back healthy should be part of your health-minded lifestyle. Follow CCA’s tips for a healthy back to avoid risk of injury.
For any athlete, prevention is imperative to great performance and sustaining longevity in their sport of choice. Having a chiropractor as part of your healthcare team can help enhance your mobility, address joint dysfunctions and share some recommended exercises to help you correct some postural or muscular imbalances. Try our free app Straighten Up Canada to get started! Talk to your chiropractor to see how their expertise can help you live a better lifestyle and feel the way you are supposed to feel.
Looking for extra motivation or how to introduce physical activity in your daily routine? Visit Fit-in-15 for activity ideas – as little as 15 minutes a day can provide you important health benefits.