How to Prevent Injuries in Sport and Dancing

Good practices for exercise, sports and for dancing can help prevent injury and can also aid recovery from injury. This article is by the osteopath in Islington at the Angel Wellbeing Clinic.

Warming up and Cooling down

This is a must when preparing to participate in any sport or intense exercise of any kind.
A good warm-up dilates your blood vessels, ensuring that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen. It also raises your muscles' temperature for optimal flexibility and efficiency. By slowly raising your heart rate, the warm-up also helps minimize stress on your heart when you start your run.

As the osteopath in Islington at the Angel Wellbeing Clinic I see a lot of patients with hectic lives and we have to remind them that it is just as critical to cool-down correctly as it keeps the blood flowing throughout the body. Stopping suddenly can cause light-headedness because your heart rate and blood pressure drop rapidly. Winding down slowly allows them to fall gradually.

Warming up

• The most common mistake people make is to warm up by stretching. It is not a good idea to stretch cold muscles. The best warm up you could do is a light aerobic exercise for 5 to 10 minutes, to loosen up your muscles and increase your body temperature. This could take the form of jogging, light dance steps/routines, cycling or power walking.

• After you complete the exercise/activity, cool down by walking or jogging slowly for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, to bring your heart rate back to normal.

• After your cool down it is then safe to stretch your muscles. A few stretches are demonstrated below. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

Cooling down

• This is equally as important as warming up and prevents DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)

• Cooling down does not only assist the body in returning to a normal state but also reduces chances of injury and helps to alleviate any soreness.

• The most important rules to remember when stretching are:

o Do not bounce
o Pull gently to the point of feeling the stretch. If you feel pain, back off slightly.
o Breathe normally

Quad Stretch

• Stand with one hand holding onto something for balance
• Stand on one leg.
• Grasp the other leg behind you above the ankle or at the foot.
• Hold.

Pull the leg down to increase the stretch.

The quads can be stretch when lying down for increased stability.

Gastrocnemeus and soleus stretch

• Stand against a wall.
• Bring one leg forward bending at the knee.
• Other leg back, straight.
• Lean into the forward leg, watching to make sure the knee does NOT go over the toe
• Hold.
• Now lift the back heel slightly, bending at the knee. This will stretch the soleus.

Gluteal Stretch

• Sit with one leg forward.
• Bend other knee and bring foot to lateral of straight leg
• Twist gently feeling the pull through the IT and piriformis


Hip Flexor Stretch

• Stand straight and bring front leg forward to 90 degree angle.
• Squat down feeling the stretch through the front of the hip.

Hamstring Stretch

• Stand straight and bend slightly at hip.
• Put one foot out in front so leg is straight.
• Place your hands on your thighs to support your body weight
• You should feel this in the back of your legs


Other Stretches

• Shoulder rotations (shrug shoulders rotating forward, rotating back)
• Ankle rotations (rotate ankles clockwise, then counter-clockwise)
• (get on knees, sit back onto feet, lean forward with arms in front and head touching ground)
• Neck rotation

This article was by the osteopath in Islington at the Angel Wellbeing Clinic. If you are a dancer with an injury or sportsman with an injury and you want to make an appointment with the osteopath at the Islington clinic please click below.

By Dianne on 29th Feb 2012   Share |

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