Everyone knows bodies need exercise and movement. This can come in many different forms and can mean something different depending on who you talk to. Activity can take many shapes and be something as simple and gentle as a walk-in your local neighborhood right up to pushing your body to its limits in the gym or training in indifferent sports or specialties.
For many people, playing a sport is more enjoyable than putting in hours at the gym, and the best part is there are many different physical sports you can take up at any age and any skill level. If your immediate thought is that sports are for children and as an adult, you are past learning a new sport or skill, then you are wrong. Anyone can learn a new sport at any point in their life.
If you are new to playing sports, following some tips can help you enhance your gameplay and avoid injury.
A Sports Physical
Visit your doctor before starting any new activity to ascertain your fitness levels and shed some light on your physical health. The importance of a physical can alert you to any limitations you might have physically to allow your doctor to understand if the sport you are looking to take up is suitable for you.
Wear The Right Gear
As soon as your athletic shoes begin to show signs of wear, replace them. Dress in clothes that are both comfortable and loose-fitting, allowing you to move freely while also being light enough to allow you to release body heat. When exercising in cold weather, dress in layers that can be removed.
Safety equipment should be tailored to the sport in question and may include goggles, mouth guards, shin-elbow-knee pads, and helmets, among others. The safety equipment should be fitted appropriately. Sporting equipment (such as bats, baskets, and goals) should be in good working order, and any damage should be repaired, or the item should be replaced if necessary.
Take It Slowly
It can be tempting to jump right in and practice as much as possible, but this isn’t something your body is used to doing yet, so it might not be the best course of action for you. Instead, start slowly and build up your fitness, stamina, and skill level before partaking in full matches or a team setting. Remember, it takes trained athletes years to reach peak fitness. While you might be at an amateur level, it still requires a certain fitness level to allow you to play any sport without accidents or injuries due to pushing yourself too hard.
Even before stretching, it is essential to warm up to prepare for exercise. Running in place for a few minutes, taking slow, deep breaths, or gently rehearse the motions of the activity that will follow will help you relax. Warming up causes your heart and blood flow rates to increase and the loosening of other muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints involved in the activity.
Stretching should be done slowly and carefully until a point of muscle tension is reached. Each stretch should be held for 10 to 20 seconds before being released slowly and carefully. Take a deep breath in before each stretch, and an exhale as you release. Each stretch should be performed only once. Maintain control at all times and avoid bouncing on a muscle that has been stretched to its maximum extent.
Each sport requires a different skill set and knowledge to allow you to play it properly. Taking the time to learn how to play and the why and the rules behind the game will help you learn more and learn quicker than simply playing.
Hire a coach or head online to read training information and rules along with pickleball videos, for example, to get a better idea of how to play and the correct form to use while playing. This can aid your enjoyment and help you to play safely at all times.
Drink plenty of water to keep from becoming dehydrated, suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Drink one pint of water 15 minutes before you begin exercising and another pint after you have finished cooling down after your workout. Consume a glass of water approximately every 20 minutes or so while you are exercising.
Consider adding electrolytes to your water to help you regain any loss during exercise too.
Much like in the gym, eating the wrong foods can not support you when exerting yourself physically. You should be making an effort to eat a well-balanced nutritious meal at all times but especially around your training or matches if applicable. Doing so will give you the right energy and support for your body to cope with the sustained increased activity levels and help repair your body post-exercise.
Consider adding protein bars or shakes to your day along with green vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Listen To Your Body
You need to be aware that in the beginning, especially, your physical level might not match your enthusiasm. This is entirely normal and expected, especially if you are new to exercising at all, not just the sport. While you want to play as much as possible as you are learning, your body might not appreciate all the exertion, and you can find yourself becoming sore quickly, and playing becomes painful. Soreness and muscle tenderness from exertion is to be expected. DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is common after any exercise, including playing sports, even the gentler sports such as golf. But listening to your body if it is painful to do anything is vital to avoid damage and injury. So take the time to listen to your body and the cues it is giving you.
Exercising and playing sports can be beneficial to your body and mind in many different ways. Finding a sport you enjoy playing can help you to have an overall better quality of life. But in the first instance, you need to ensure you are taking the appropriate precautions to support your body through this transition period to give you a solid foundation to work from.