An Integrated Solution is one that covers all bases and aspects – including prevention, dietary causes, and muscular imbalances that may lead to injury in some form or another. The key then in combining these elements to provide a solution.
Most people associate injuries as solely being physical – something sustained through overtraining, an accident or just an inclination towards injury in a specific, vulnerable spot (knee, ankle, wrist etc etc…) I on the other hand see them from a more holistic point of view. in Particular the way the body moves, for me the people who seem to get injured the most are the one’s who move in a clumsy way. Obviously we are not all blessed with graceful movement but it is something we can work on by improving balance and co-ordination.
Movement – So the first topic to address is movement and the theory that the more gracefully you move (being light on your feet, delicate movements etc) will lead to a reduced chance of injury. You only need to look at the athletes who are injured least to somewhat prove this theory; take a look at Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Roger Federer. All very rarely injured and they are some of the most graceful athletes around.
So how can this benefit you? See the value in improving your balance, co-ordination and movement. This will not only reduce your chance of injury when playing sports or training but also in everyday life. Do things that challenge these systems:
- Practice standing on one leg
- Use Balance Boards and BOSU balls when training
- Use Unilateral training methods
- Brush your teeth using your weaker hand
- Throw in multi-directional running to training (side steps, running backwards)
- Play sports that require multi-directional movement (squash, tennis, touch football, soccer)
These are some ideas, some may seem silly but they really work. If all you are doing right now is running on treadmills, using cross trainers and or lifting weights you are not challenging your full capacity for balance, strength and co-ordination. Focus on being light on your feet and moving gracefully – this in itself will help you with injury prevention.
Diet – Can diet play a role in injury prevention? I think so – in the fact that a lot of injuries are caused by inflammation and this in turn is caused largely by what we eat. Eating an ‘Anti-Inflammatory Diet’ as some like to call it could help – it needn’t be complicated. Simply following a few rules can help reduce inflammation in the body.
- Eat less processed/rancid oils – Rapeseed, Sunflower, Canola etc… Basically all the oils that are commercially used. Instead stick to olive oil, butter, or coconut oil.
- Inflammation lowering foods such as Ginger, Onions, Garlic and Pineapple are helpful when eaten consistently.
Interestingly, omega 6 seems to be predominantly pro-inflammatory and anti-metabolic. The short and medium chain fatty acids seem to have more of the opposite effect, particularly butyric acid (butyric as in butter as in milkfat). Both of these changes tend to favor a lower metabolic rate and higher levels of inflammation. The decreased cholesterol level is also indicative of reduced metabolism. – Matt Stone (Paleo Myths eBook)
The real key here is cooking yourself from scratch more – so many people seem to live off take out and restaurant food and this is where the problem occurs with commercial cooking oils. Even though the ingredients maybe healthy it is the oil used to cook them that causes the problem by activating the bodies inflammatory cascade.
These simple things really help – as does reducing Stress which is a major cause of inflammation in the body. All in all it seems important to not only improve how you move and train your body to reduce the chance of injury but also to see things from a holistic point of view. Mix this up with some joint mobility and general strength training and you should help whether you whether it’s just niggles you are getting or more serious sports injuries.
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