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AIR FORCE November 12, 2009
INJURIES not only affect fitness
but can harm your health, motivation,
lifestyle and career. Many injuries
are preventable -- all it takes is a bit
of planning and due caution. Here are
eight tips for keeping injury at bay.
Make sure playing surfaces and
gym equipment are safe. Watch for
potholes and rocks, and ensure weights
are secured and cables are not frayed.
All your training gear should fit
properly and be in good working order.
Above all, remember to wear it -- even
for the most casual of occasions.
Don't forget your mouth guard when
there is potential for physical contact
(with people or equipment).
Don't play sport to get fit, get fit to
play sport. Many sporting injuries are
caused by fatigue, which can reduce
muscle timing and the speed of mental
reaction. This affects co-ordination and
the ability of the protective muscles to
respond to stress (leading to muscle,
tendon and ligament strains).
It is often tempting to jump straight
into a physical activity and warm up
as you go. Unfortunately, the physical
demands and level of co-ordination
required to, say, walk to the gym or
sports field are vastly different from
those involved in the actual activity.
The chance of injury is high during
this adjustment phase.
Listen to your body
Your body can usually be relied
on to tell you when things start to go
wrong. Always stop training or play-
ing at the first sign of injury. Avoid
pushing through the injury, as this will
only make it worse and can lead to
more injuries as your body tries to
compensate. If you are feeling ill or
overly tired, skip the session. Missing
one session can save you from missing
more from injury.
Watch the weather
The elements can have a marked
effect on injury potential, but remem-
ber to stay hydrated (by drinking
water) regardless of the temperature.
Even when it is cold your body uses
and loses water.
Dress to suit the weather. When
your body is cold, reaction time slows
and muscle elasticity decreases, so
wear warm clothing.
When it is hot and humid, wear
clothes that both protect you from the
sun and allow the skin to breathe. A
lightweight shirt is a good sun barrier
and will trap sweat and provide a more
effective means of heat loss through
When training in the dark, wear
clothing that can be seen by others.
Park your ego
While a will to win is good, injur-
ing yourself and others because you
are too competitive is not.
Impress others in the gym with
your flawless technique rather than
being trapped under the weight bar or
flying off the back of the treadmill.
Always complete your physiother-
apy treatment. The pain might be gone
but it does not mean the damaged tis-
sues have fully recovered.
Lead, not follow
Forget about following a program
you have read about in a magazine
or on a website, or doing an exercise
because everyone else is. See your
training consultant to have a program
tailor-made to your needs.
Follow these eight tips and your
chances of injury may be significantly
Stretching the point
Following a few simple guidelines can have
far-reaching effects on your body's ability to
ward off injury, writes LT Rob Orr.
DUTY OF CARE: Keep fit and
listen to your body to prevent
Photo: AB Evan Murphy
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