Feet are ugly. No one has nice feet, it’s just a fact of life and especially for runners with all we put them through, but it’s possible to get them slightly less minging, especially if you’re going to be wearing sandals or (shudder) flip flops during the warmer months.
If you exercise or play a sport, either alone or with others, you could get hurt when you don’t pay attention. Perhaps, you do military presses with added poundage, although your shoulder has been aching for some weeks now. Unfortunately, you tear your deltoid muscle.
Perhaps, you run to the finish line, although you know that pain in your ankle is a clear sign for you to stop. Unfortunately, you experience a severe ankle sprain and the painful swelling takes weeks to heal.
Or perhaps, you keep on pedaling as fast as can when you’re biking, although you are now well past the point of fatigue. Unfortunately, you run over a rock that you didn’t notice, wobble, and fall.
We can suffer from a wide variety of minor injuries, like sprains, contusions, or pulled muscles, while exercising or playing sports. It’s important to learn how to prevent injuries from happening in the first place by pacing ourselves, stretching, and using proper techniques. If we do injure ourselves, we can use ice/ice/heat therapy, supportive braces and sleeves, OTC pain relievers, and rest and elevation to speed up recovery. You can get more information online on how base layer bracing and compression zone technology can help you prevent injuries or help speed up your recovery.
Common Injuries, Prevention, and Recovery
Let’s take a closer look at some basic types of sports injuries, how to prevent injuries from happening in the first place, and what to do if you do have an injury.
- Common Injuries
The six most common sports injuries are sprains, strains, knees injuries, shin splints, dislocations, and fractures. They range in severity.
- Sprains are the most common of all types of minor injuries. They occur when a ligament, the connective tissues attached to bones, overstretches or tears. This occurs in wrists, knees, and ankles.
- Strains are similar to sprains, except that muscles or tendons, not ligaments, overstretch or tear.
- Knee injuries range from mild to severe, and if severe, they may require surgery to repair cartilage or ligaments. There are different types of knee injuries. Illiotibial band syndrome occurs when the ligament from the hip to the shin becomes painfully tight or get inflamed. Runner’s knee is tenderness or acute pain close to the front of the knee cap. And tendonitis refers to the condition when there is inflammation or degeneration within a tendon.
- Shin splints refer to pain associated with the tibia. This pain can be to the front of the lower leg, the foot, or the ankle. There are different types of shin splints, like anterior shin splints or medial shin splints. This injury is common among runners who run on a concrete path or road.
- Dislocations, or luxation, occur when the bones in a joint are forced out of alignment. These usually affect those in contact sports like football or martial arts. This is an emergency and requires a medical expert to push the dislocated bone back into place. This is acutely painful because the connective tissue around the joint is damaged and inflamed. Dislocation may occur in fingers, hands, shoulders, elbows, knees, and hips.
- Fractures are a broken bone. An acute fracture is a one-time injury while a stress fracture is the result of repeated bone stress over a period of time. These are medical emergencies.
- Injury Prevention
The reason we overdo things when playing sports is because we are high on natural endorphins and feel invincible, and we also have goals that we are fiercely determined to reach. Whether we are competing against others or our previous best records, it’s hard to be sensible and stop and when we have so much momentum going for us. You can prevent injuries by wearing protective gear, warming up and cooling down, and not playing when you’re injured. If involved in a team sport, you should watch out for attacks by the other team and understand the rules of the game.
- Injury Recovery
Depending on the type of injury, treatments can include massage, rest, heat treatments, icing the inflammation, and taking anti-inflammatory medication. If severe, you should go to the hospital immediately.
While some sports injuries are due to accidents, the majority of them are due to not paying attention or pushing past pain.
Tennis is a very start-stop-start kind of sport. Most of the running in the game consists of brief sprints – either from side to side behind the baseline or towards the net and back. Part of this also involves a player and his or her ability to make small adjustments in a flash, which is why running is such an integral part of the sport.
Whilst an official tennis court’s dimension is only 27 feet wide for singles matches, the fact of the matter is that players do a lot of running. In more ways than one, a typical game proves to be a stamina challenge. That is, unless athletes come in prepared and put in the necessary roadwork.
Most people can remember the gruelling John Isner versus Nicholas Mahut match during the first round of the 2010 Wimbledon tournament. In total, the whole ordeal lasted a mind-blowing 11 hours and five minutes that spanned across three days, breaking numerous tennis records in the process. The aforementioned match is arguably the ultimate testament of how proper conditioning and running are vital parts of the sport.
Even though one might not see his or her favourite tennis player run a full marathon – unless her name is Caroline Wozniacki – those long distances under their feet does wonders for their overall game. Not only does it improve their cardiovascular system, running also develops athletes’ stamina and endurance.
The key to all of this, however, is to run at a moderate pace. In other words, find a steady speed and stick to it for about 20 minutes or so. By doing this, tennis players will feel their endurance reach new levels. This is also where high-intensity training comes into play.
Indeed, distance running builds a tennis player’s endurance, but incorporating specific high-intensity training will give them much-needed functional movements. This refers to a type of program that mimics their actual movements on the court, during a game. For instance, suicide runs are an excellent high-intensity exercise, as they simulate the feeling of chasing after a ball, as well as improving one’s stamina and quickness. A well-written piece on Active by Paul Gold even points out the secrets of speed training specifically for tennis.
In hindsight, there are many reasons why tennis is a superb way to get and stay in shape – especially for a generation that is easily distracted with some of the latest fads and technologies. Jess Goulart, a sports journalist who regularly writes articles for tennis site Play Your Court, even came up with tips on how millennials can get fit, and one of those, of course, is through playing tennis regularly.
The connection that binds running, tennis, and fitness goes beyond the obvious improvement of a player’s game. To a certain extent, athletes of all skill and experience levels can benefit from each of these facets both physically and mentally, which is why cross-training is such a significant part of any sport.
Spring is in full swing and summer is hot on it’s heels. That means we can abandon duvet days and nights by the fire for long, calf-burning bike rides in the great outdoors. Bike rides used to be saved for serious athletes and kids on three-wheelers but, these days, it’s a more universal thing. In fact, more than 3 million bicycles can be found on the roads every year now, which is great for our precious planet but breaking news for health and safety.
Since my spin instructor left, I’ve stopped going to spin on a Saturday morning but I still have the ‘Saturday mornings are for exercise’ mentality so, when I woke up at 7am, I thought to myself, ‘I could go to parkrun’. But then I thought, ‘Na, bollocks to that, I don’t like parkrun and I’d end up walking it all like a loser, anyway’, so I decided to go and do week 1, day 2 of the C25k app instead which consisted of running for 1 minute, interspersed with 1.5 minute’s walking x 8 (with 5 minutes each side to warm up/cool down).
Last summer, I decided I wanted to run again. I got myself a C25K app and I had planned to blog my progress, like I did back in 2006 (back when people used to comment on blogs because they wanted to and not because they were in some stupid comment swap thread, and back before 12 year olds in Facebook blogging groups bleated about their DA every five minutes). But, that didn’t happen. The doing the C25K app happened but the blogging didn’t. And, although the C25K app happened, in true JogBlog self-destructive style I fucked it up at the end and only completed 22 out of 24 runs and then didn’t run again until today, six months later.
Spring is definitely in the air and that means it’s running season again. Of course, the hardcore runners have been out all winter – and good for them – but many of us can’t bring ourselves to head out for a jog in wintertime, whether it’s because of the cold winds, the icy ground, or the dark early nights. Spring is the perfect time to start working on your fitness again and there are some great tips for anyone hoping to avoid injury and make their runs as enjoyable and safe as possible.
SMART goals are usually used in business rather than fitness – think sales, targets, customers, that kind of thing. But with spring here (or nearly here, at least), you might be feeling inspired by all the runners currently out training for their spring marathons, or by the parkrunners you dodge every Saturday morning when you’re out walking the dogs.
If your weather’s anything like the weather here at the mo, it’s not very inviting to go out and run in. I’m okay if it starts to rain while I’m out – in fact, I can breathe easier when it’s raining – but when it’s damp and grey and drizzly, it’s hard to motivate myself to get out there in the first place.
I lost my iPod Nano. I am bereft. I’m pretty sure I left it in the cab after my birthday night out, as I remember not being able to find my wallet in my bag as my bag was stuffed full of presents and cards (I should probably point out this was more down to how small my bag was, not my popularity being so huge I should have taken a bin liner or two out with me with which to carry all my gifts) and I asked the driver to drive into the driveway while I rummaged around for the fare (that isn’t supposed to sound as dodgy as it does. I paid with cash, honest). So, I reckon it fell out then and, when I next got a cab two days later on Christmas Eve, I asked that cab driver how many different companies use the rank at the station and told him I thought I’d lost my iPod in a cab a couple of days previously and I thought it was a female driver, and he gave me a number to ring and said there are only three female drivers in Ashford, so it should be easy to locate. I said I won’t ring now, it’s Christmas Eve, they’ll be busy but he assured me it’d be fine. I went inside and rang the cab office and got the most unfriendly and unhelpful woman on the phone ever and she just said blah blah blah and so I remained un-iPodless and too scared to ring back another day in the hope someone nicer picked up.