Injuries are popular. Well, they are if the posts on the simply cricket forum are anything to go by.
Unlike our resident Physical Therapist Liz Ward, I'm no expert on recovery from injury but I do know how to help prevent it in the first place.
That has to be better (No offence Liz).
It's probably the last thing you think of when you are fit, but a bit of planning and some luck could see you through the summer with no niggles. And that means lots of cricket.
- Warm up. Everyone knows the importance of warming up before play and practice. How many of actually do warm up properly? As Vern Gambetta says, you warm up to play, you don't play to warm up. A good warm up is a gradual progression from slow pace to game speed and incorporates all the muscles you will use in the game. This way you don't have to shock them into action when trying to sprint a quick single on the first ball.
- Get strong. Strength is not just about big muscles. We have been researching the health benefits of exercise for years. Strength training leads to better protection around your joints, stronger bones and ligaments and more stability. The stronger you get the more these factors apply.
- Be balanced. In this case I'm not referring to falling over. If you are much stronger on your left or right side, or front compared to back you have a significant increase in injury risk. This is because your strong side will try and compensate for the weak side and put you into unsafe positions. It's worth getting tested. Gray Cook is the pioneer of this but any personal trainer should be able to do something similar, it's quick and easy.
- Wear the right equipment. Cricket kit is expensive so it's easy to neglect equipment and let it become unsafe. Manufacturers recommend that helmets should be replaced if they get hit, even if there is no obvious damage. Other kit needs to be repaired or replaced if it isn't offering the right protection.
- Get mobile. The greater the range you can move your joints through the better you will be at getting your body out of sticky situations. Make sure your warm up includes mobility drills, stretch after exercise and when you are in the gym train your muscles through the maximum range you can that is safe. Speak to a quailifed trainer for advice on this.
- Cool down. Gentle activity after the game and training (no, not raising a pint to your lips) removes waste products from your muscles. Stretching relaxes the muscles and returns them to a non-exercising state gradually. This speeds up your recovery and reduces the risk of training or playing under fatigue.
- Rest up. Speaking of fatigue, always make sure you get enough rest. Regular sleep is important, as is refuelling and doing gentle activity on your off days. Always take at least 1 day off a week.
What are your tips for staying fit?
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