Stretches to Help Minimize Sports Injuries

woman running down an isolated running trailIf you lead an active lifestyle, you know that even a short time away from your exercise routine can make it harder to get back into the swing of things. And if you are going to take time off from your fitness regimen, you would likely rather do it on your own terms (while on vacation, for example) than be forced to rest because of an injury. While no routine can totally inoculate you against potential injury, taking a little time to warm up and stretch can greatly reduce the risk. Here are three stretches to try before your next game, run, or other athletic activity.

Forward Fold

This is one of the first stretches anyone learns, and it’s among the most effective. Stand with your feet hip-width apart or slightly wider. Bend at the hips and curve the back while reaching your hands towards the toes and bringing the forehead as close to the knees as possible. Done right, this stretch hits the entire back side of the body, from your heels through your neck.

Standing Quad Stretch

After focusing on the backside, don’t neglect the top of your legs. Standing on one foot, take your toe in hand and press your heel into your glutes. Hold it for at least 30 seconds. If you need help with your balance, place your free palm against a wall or steady yourself with a chair.

Supine Twist

This stretch is great for the lower back, which is a problem area for a lot of athletes, especially as they get older. Lay flat on your back and put your arms out in a “T” shape. Bring your right knee over across the left side of the body. Bring it as close as you can to the ground while keeping your shoulders flat on the floor, but don’t force it. Turn your head to the right side. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, then repeat with the left side.

While stretching can often help prevent injuries, sometimes they still happen. K. Mathew Warnock, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with experience treating a wide range of sports injuries. If you are hurt while playing sports, we can provide treatments that can help your injury heal and help prevent the injury from reoccurring. See what other patients are saying about their experience with Dr. Warnock. Read up on how to prepare for your visit and call 281-807-4380 to schedule your appointment.

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