Sports have a variety of health and social benefits, so it’s no surprise that over half of all boys and girls over the age of six are involved in team athletics. Being a part of a team teaches all sorts of life lessons, including problem solving and communication, as well as boosting self-confidence and improving grades in school. Later in life, becoming a professional athlete might very well be a promising career. However, physical exertion is not without its risk of injury. Here’s how physical therapy for high school athletes can prevent injuries, while also improving performance.
How Physical Therapy Increases Performance
As with any skill, athletes have the potential to improve their abilities through practice and hard work. The goal of physical therapy is to specifically target and correct bad fitness habits in three key areas:
By adjusting your physical therapy regimen to suit your specific needs, you can ensure that one weak area does not compromise your overall ability.
Unfortunately, many students limit their involvement with physical activities due to a perceived weakness they may have. With the help of a physical therapist, you will find out how to strengthen your body—and boost your self-image—so that you can get up and be active again.
How To Avoid Sports Injuries
The reality is that any physical activity is always accompanied by a risk for injury. With the help of physical therapy, however, those chances can be greatly reduced. While correcting issues such as poor form and weak areas in the body, physical therapy can also help you prevent injuries by teaching your body how to prepare for the strain of whatever sport you play.
Types of Sports Injuries
While there are a multitude of ways that an athlete may be injured, some of the more common injuries include sprains, fractures, knee injuries, swollen muscles, and dislocations. Repetitive use injuries from performing an action over and over are also quite prominent in sports, as these movements increase the amount of stress on your muscles. Thankfully, many of these are preventable with the proper training, stretching, and exercise routines a physical therapist can teach you.
Who’s at Risk For Athletic Injuries?
Although an injury is a danger to anyone who plays sports, there are some groups that are more at-risk than others. Students who sit at their desks throughout the day and only play sports on the weekends rather than throughout the week are not conditioned enough to handle significant physical exertion. On the other side, competitive students that spend too much time playing sports without giving their body the breaks it needs to recover are also at risk.
Last are those who primarily play a single sport without branching out into other forms of fitness. Physical therapy gives you the proper cross-training your body needs to avoid repetition injuries. What’s more, with physical therapy, even if you are injured, your recovery time is likely to be dramatically decreased.
Physical Therapy Teaches Injury Prevention
As a student, it’s important to have a teacher to guide you as you learn. A physical therapist can act as that teacher, giving you the proper tools to help keep your body healthy and in-shape. Some of the things you can learn from physical therapy include:
It’s imperative that your body and muscles are ready to perform at their highest levels before a big game. Warming up generally includes 15-30 minutes of light exercise, cardio, and stretching to help improve performance and reduce your chance of injury.
During the offseason or preseason, you might think you don’t need to keep active. Staying conditioned not only keeps you prepared year-round, but helps improve your performance standard as well.
Giving your body the proper nutrients it needs to help keep you at your best is an important step toward staying healthy and avoiding injuries.
As you look to improve your athletic performance, you will need a regimen that gradually increases in intensity to keep you at peak strength.
While staying active is important, it’s also imperative to give your body enough time to recover by cooling down after workouts and going to bed on time.
Ready to Get Started?
If you’re in need of professional physical therapy tailored just for you, contact Raritan Physical Therapy at (732) 662-4400 to schedule your first appointment.