The 10 commandments in injury prevention

Thursday 07 January 2021

The 10 commandments in injury prevention

From Aerobics, aqua gym to indoor football or swimming... there are some common ground rules in injury prevention for the whole alphabet of sports. Of course, there are additional specific tips and tricks for each sport but the readers of this blog had better be familiar with all of them. Hence, you can find the golden ground rules here.

  1. Use the right material!
    Therefore, not the most expensive but the one that suits your rolling pattern, your morphology and your discipline. E.g.: as a cyclist, the bicycle frame must fit, as a runner the running shoe must be adapted to your rolling pattern, in contact sports you must have high-quality protective materials...
  2. Gradual build-up in load!
    It has been scientifically proven that underlying tendon injuries become symptomatic (i.e. cause pain) if the load is increased by >10% /week. Don't be fooled by your ambitions but keep using your wits when building fitness.
  3. Take carbohydrates as well as protein within 30' of exercise!

    The carbohydrates are needed to replenish the glycogen stores, which are the energy reserves in the muscle cell. The proteins are needed for that muscle building, which is what we ultimately aim for with the workout we've just finished. If we only do this 1 or 2 hours after no longer ends up in our muscle cells but rather in fat cells!  This can be a brik of chocolate milk, a rice cake, a rice pudding...or recovery shake from ETIXX.

  4. The trainer makes the athlete, the athlete makes the trainer!

    For those following a training schedule, it is important that the trainer has insight into what is actually being performed as well as into what the athlete is doing besides his schedule. The so-called invisible training: an athlete who cycles 10 km to and from school/work every day or an athlete who works in the catering industry may already have 20 km in his legs before training starts. A trainer must take this into account otherwise there is a chance of overtraining or exhaustion resulting in a higher injury risk. It is a shared responsibility.
  5. Warming up and cooling down!
    Never start an explosive or fast training stimulus without a gentle aerobic warm-up! Preferably 15' of gentle aerobic exercise so that muscles and especially tendons are optimally perfused. Since tendons are poorly perfused structures, a longer warm-up time is especially important for them.
  6. Get enough sleep!
    The number of hours of sleep we need to recover sufficiently physically and mentally varies individually. This can range from 5 to 11 hours of essential sleep. More is not known about sleep than is known, but we do know that a lack of sleep increases your injury risk by 30%! On the one hand, because the body is not physically ready to make the effort and, on the other, because the mind is not fresh enough to summon up the required concentration...and then an accident quickly happens!
  7. Listen to your body!
    Don't keep walking with a minor ache. Have this checked by your doctor, physiotherapist or osteopath. A minor dysfunction may be able to be fixed quickly without causing a structural injury.
  8. Listen to your mind!
    If you start every training session against your will...something is wrong! Possibly just chose the wrong sport but often it is a sign of over-fatigue. Don't ignore this signal. Do something with it. Possibly time for a blood test at the doctor's or a talk with the trainer?
  9. Try to avoid short sugar!
    Those who consume too many sweets or soft drinks can perpetuate inflammation as a result. Are you falling from one inflammation to another? Take a hard look at your diet.
  10. Good oral hygiene and annual dental check-ups!
    Dormant caries or gum disease can maintain inflammation. Recovery from exercise will also be slower if oral hygiene is not optimal.  Poor brushing is more likely to cause injury.


Now go all out without injury!

Dr Petra Bruggeman - Sports doctor