Kinese is intrinsically committed to the health and wellness of others in all that we do. Together with our physician partners, we have witnessed a great deal of cases specifically associated with athletic injuries that could often times have been prevented. Over the next several weeks, we will highlight some of the key elements specific to injury prevention of athletes. By following these principles, the risk of athletic injury can be mitigated, keeping athletes focused on their best performance.
Part One: Proper Physical Conditioning
In our first post in this extended series, we will cover a key principle in athletic injury prevention – proper physical conditioning. A seemingly basic, yet often overlooked component to achieving safe, injury-free athletic performance. Of course, not all physical conditioning programs are built the same. An athlete’s unique goals and sport-specific movements must be taken into consideration in order to build an effective program. However, athletes that build a quality physical conditioning program (and stick to it consistently) are less likely to become injured, and if injured, recover at a much quicker rate than those who neglect to focus on their conditioning habits.
Regardless of an athlete’s ability level, incorporating the following four elements into a year-round physical conditioning program is a sure way to reduce the risk of athletic injury and return an athlete to their enjoyed activity at a much faster pace should one occur.
From ultra-marathon runners to baseball players, strength training is a vital component to injury prevention. In this case, an endurance runner will have a much different strength training program to that of the baseball player, however, the general objective should remain fairly similar. While well-designed strength programs are tailored to sport-specific needs, the overall goal remains constant. Strength conditioning bolsters tendon and ligaments in order to prevent muscle imbalances. Strengthening muscles can substantially reduce overuse injuries such as repeat motions, like swinging a baseball bat or even running. As these unique muscle groups become warn or weak, nearby muscles and joints compensate for the lack of performance. The human body’s natural inclination to compensate can lead to improper movement and injury. Ensuring muscles have proper strength, mobility and stabilization through a strength conditioning program can also limit more severe, traumatic injuries such as torn ligaments, dislocations and fractures. Strengthening muscles allows for a more powerful, faster, confident athlete, allowing for improved athletic performance.
Experts in the field of athletic training have proved that increasing an athlete’s flexibility decreases the likelihood of an athletic injury. If flexibility is not maintained, an athlete’s range of motion can become compromised. This can lead to reduced mobility and the development of poor posture and technique habits. Consistently adding stretching to an athlete’s daily exercise regimen reduces stiffness and soreness to worked muscles and joints so that athletes can maintain their athletic performance day after day. Various techniques in stretching can be utilized in order to increase overall flexibility, reduce stress, improve posture, increase performance, and reduce the risk of injury during daily activities and during exercise.
There are two unique components to endurance: muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance. Muscular endurance is more specifically correlated to a strength training program, but involves the ability for muscles to perform contractions for extended time periods. Increasing muscular endurance is important in sport as it allows for athletic activities to be performed at longer time intervals before fatigue. Practicing this component will allow the human body to efficiently sustain load for longer periods, limiting injuries sustained from physical exertion. On the other hand, cardiovascular endurance encompasses forces on the cardiovascular system – such as the heart, lungs and blood vessels – from such exercises as running, biking and swimming. Cardiovascular endurance enhances the body’s ability to send oxygen-rich blood to muscles which effectively increases functionality and efficiency while reducing injury-prone fatigue.
Adding balance training to a physical conditioning program effectively makes use of all the conditioning elements we have already discussed. Balance stabilizes the body and facilitates control and ability to react to unexpected forces on the body. When done in conjunction with strength, flexibility and endurance routines, balance training can help the body appropriately adapt to situations of being off balanced. Consistently adding balance training to a workout routine has been shown to significantly reduce ankle and knee ligament injuries in athletes and recreational enthusiasts as they have trained their bodies to become skilled at correctly recovering from unbalanced situations.
Kinese is a company that facilitates surgical experiences for those who desire a deeper level of personalized explanation, treatment and care. We believe our clients deserve immediate access to the very best minds in medicine without having to navigate the bureaucratic, complex and flat-out confusing systems that surround the greater healthcare market. Alongside our physicians, we promise to deliver the highest standard of care available.