Last week we looked into how to eat right before gameday to keep you at your top form for a full 90 minutes. But nutrition tips aren’t as helpful if you are sidelined with an injury. Although we acknowledge some injuries can be difficult to prevent and sometimes injuries happen from one-off moments, today we are looking into some best practices in avoiding common injuries to keep you on the field as much as possible.
1) Drink proper fluids to stay hydrated
Injuries and other negative effects, like heat exhaustion or a more serious heat stroke, can occur from simply not being properly hydrated. With a heavy schedule in the summer staying hydrated can keep you on the field longer and will keep you mentally alert as well as physically.
2) Warming Up and Warming Down
Stretching before and after workouts has long been preached by coaches and trainers but warming up and warming down can be so much more than that. For starters stretching should not be a painful experience, to the point of muscle tension, but never painful. A proper stretch should start slowly and reach the point of tension and be held for up to 20 seconds. Mixing static stretches, holding a stretch without moving, with dynamic stretches, stretching with continuous movement like jumping jacks, makes for a fuller warmup.
In a cardio-heavy sport like soccer part of your warmup should include raising your heart rate. This can be done with a light short run and even a few short sprints can get that heart rate up and ready to go.
3) Taking a break
Some days it is better to sit out than to knock yourself out for longer. Working out and working hard every day might be good for the short term but for long term health and overall fitness it can be a detriment. Taking a day off during the week to recover as well as resting between games and practices can help prevent overuse injuries which are common with athletes and in particular young athletes.
4) Using recovery devices
Our friends at NormaTec are the leading provider of recovering technology including their PULSE 2.0 Series.
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Their system uses compressed air to massage limbs, mobilize fluids, speed recovery, and reduce pain and soreness. The recovery massage helps athletes recover quickly from any workouts and games and can also be used for pregame warmup. The NormaTec system is relied on by 97% of US teams including Super Y League and the rest of USL.
To learn more about NormaTec visit NormaTecRecovery.com.