Sports medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with physical fitness, treatment and prevention of injuries related to sports and exercise. Sports medicine not only benefits experienced athletes, but also amateur athletes of all ages. Proper exercise techniques as well as an understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the human body are a necessity in preventing and treating injuries.
Physical fitness is the result of regular exercise. People who are physically fit can perform their daily tasks with energy and vigor because of their participation in a variety of physical activities. There are four components of physical fitness:
Each of these components contributes to one’s level of physical fitness. Certain types of exercise have a greater impact on a specific part of the body, while others give a broader range of benefits. In general, a regular and balanced exercise routine will benefit all four areas of fitness.
If you DO experience a minor injury – strain, sprain, pull or spasms – while exercising, follow these simple steps:
Most minor injuries can be treated at home with R-I-C-E:
If your symptoms don't improve with RICE therapy in two days, or if you suspect an injury that the RICE therapy can't treat appropriately, call your health care provider.
Choose a sport that is appropriate for your age and ability level. For example, running can be difficult and even dangerous in very hot climates for people with damaged joints, or for those who are not physically fit.
Use proper technique and safety gear. Any exercise can be unsafe if not executed with proper form.
Make warming up and cooling down part of the exercise. Ten minutes before and after exercising should be devoted to gentle stretching of the muscles that are involved in the workout. Doing this can prevent injuries during exercise.
Wear clothing that is appropriate to the exercise. Loose, baggy clothing can be burdensome during running and clothes that are too tight can make walking difficult.
Wear shoes that fit well and have good cushioning and support to prevent injuring the feet, ankles, knees, and hips.
National Library of Medicine. (2010). Sports Injuries. Retrieved on June 29, 2012 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/sportsinjuries.html
Intelihealth: Injuries (select Fitness, then Injuries, Accidents and Annoyances)