Spring is finally here, and it’s bringing a brand new sports season with it. After such a lengthy pause from organized sports, regular training and physical activity, it’s important to make a safe return so you don’t get sidelined.
The skilled specialists at Oxford Urgent Care want your return to sport to be enjoyable and injury-free.
Ten Ways to Return to Sports Safely
After an extended break from sports, athletes of all ages and skill levels should take steps to build strength, avoid injury and protect themselves and others from illness. Here are 10 ways you can get back on the playing field and have a safe season:
- Schedule a physical exam
Before beginning any new physical activity, its’ important to check in with your primary care physician. They can help you determine whether it is safe for you or your child to participate.
- Focus on cardiovascular fitness
After a fall, winter and spring of virtual everything, it’s important to improve your cardiovascular fitness in order to be ready for full-length games and practices. Engage in fin activities like cycling, swimming, running or hiking.
- Rebuild those muscles
There are plenty of ways to improve your muscle fitness like weight training or bodyweight exercises (e.g., push-ups, squats and lunges). Find something you enjoy to build muscle and increase your stamina.
- Check your mental health
A return to sports may feel exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time, but remembering that you’re not alone can go a long way. Talk to your teammates, friends or parents if you’re feeling uneasy and remember that your worries are normal.
- Eat healthy foods
Eating a good diet can give you the energy you need for your chosen sport of activity. Be sure to get plenty of lean meats, whole grains, leafy green vegetables and plenty of fruit.
- Stay hydrated
Hydration is key for peak performance. It can help you avoid muscle fatigue and cramping. It also helps reduce your risk for injury or illness (e.g., heat exhaustion or heat stroke).
- Take precautions
It’s exciting to get back to pre-COVID activities, but it’s important to do so safely. Wear a mask, bring your own equipment when possible and keep your hands clean with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
- Talk to your coach
Find out what plans they have and what practice drills they’ll be running. Find out how they plan to limit the time when you’re in each other’s personal space. If you’re participating in an activity that is usually played indoors, find out if it can be conducted outdoors instead.
- Shower and wash your clothes
Limit your exposure to other people’s respiratory particles that may be on your clothing or hair by heading straight home after games and practice for a shower and shampoo. It’s also a good idea to toss your clothes right into the washing machine. Making this a habit is not only good hygiene, but it will also help protect anyone living in your household.
- Stay home if you’re sick
If you’re sneezing, coughing or running a fever, stay home until you are feeling well to protect yourself, your teammates and your coach.
Even the most cautious among us may sustain an injury from time to time, but the good news is most minor cuts and bruises can be safely treated at home. However, if you’re experiencing pain, swelling or noticeable symptoms that aren’t getting better (or seem to be getting worse), visit Oxford Urgent Care for immediate medical treatment. We welcome walk-in appointments 7 days a week from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.