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Seven steps to decrease injury occurrence and recovery time

Whether you have a physical job, regularly exercise or play sport we are all at risk of injuring ourselves but there are steps that can be taken to help reduce the occurrence of injuries and help speed up your recovery time. Our seven steps to help reduce the risk of injury and decrease your recovery time range from a healthy diet to how you sleep as well as looking at how you exercise. Discover the cause of your pain Recognising what’s causing your pain is the first key step to treating it and preventing reoccurrence. If you suffer from a long-term pain, then you should see your GP. However, if you are finding that smaller injuries that flare up during exercise then you may be able to find more information on treatment and prevention in our injury guide here. Rest minor injuries If you feel a small pain or niggle it can be tempting to carry on and hope the pain disappears, but this can exacerbate the pain and cause longer term injuries. Therefore, if you begin to feel an injury no matter how small be sure to take a short break from your regular routine and rest with an ice or heat pack to help reduce your recovery time. Ease back into exercise After suffering and recovering from an injury be sure to easy yourself back into exercise, be sure to not go straight to where you were before your injury. Easing yourself back into your old routine helps prevent your injury reoccurring immediately and having to restart your recovery progress. Changing your routine Everyone will have different goals they are trying to achieve by exercising, meaning that everyone will exercise in a different way. However, many of us get into a regular routine when it comes to exercising. But training in a regular routine can lead to injuries through just overuse of muscles, therefore changing your regular routine can help prevent injury and increase recovery time. For example, if your suffering from sore shins switch a treadmill for a cross trainer to reduce the impact causing your pain. Or if you struggle with a bad back then use a weight machine rather than dumbbells as they target more specific areas and will take stress away from the back.

Managing your weight There are many reasons of why you should aim to be at a healthy weight, one of these being that your weight can affect your chances of suffering injury as well as your recovery time. Studies have shown an association between a high BMI and the increased probability of sustaining an injury. Additionally, a separate study showed that those who were obese had a longer recovery time compared to those who were an in a healthy weight range.

Healthy eating If your exercising regularly and trying to manage your weight, then you need to be eating healthy. It is no good exercising without a healthy diet alongside it. A healthy diet is not only for weight loss but can in fact help reduce your injury recovery time. Monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fats inhibit inflammation and improve collagen production, collagen fibres give ligaments strength, whereas saturated fats and omega 6 fats will promote inflammation and slow your recovery. Also, recovery will require protein to form new tissue and a good intake of vitamins from fruit and fresh vegetables, helping increase your natural defences and aiding the bodies healing process.

Sleep Sleep is the prime time for your body to release growth hormones and undergo protein synthesis, an important part of maintaining and growing new muscle. If you’re not getting between seven and nine hours sleep a night you will be slowing down your recovery time. However, how you sleep could also affect your bodies recovery or even make you more susceptible to suffering an injury. Too many pillows could strain your neck or spine or sleeping with your arm under a pillow could wear out the cartilage in your shoulder. Unfortunately, there is no perfect way to sleep but there are a few tips for a healthier sleep.

  • Try and sleep on your back
  • Replace your mattress every five to seven years
  • Avoid caffeine and sugar in the evening.
  • Don’t go to bed on an empty stomach, eat around three hours before going to sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol as it diminishes the quality of your sleep.