As the flowers bloom and the weather warms, you may be looking forward to getting back on the field to play your favorite spring sports. But before you do, make sure you’re prepared to keep yourself safe from COVID-19 and injuries.
Like many other things in our lives, spring sports may feel different this year. For one, we’ll still have to take precautions due to the COVID-19 virus. But there's also a good chance we may be out of shape or out of practice because we haven't played since the pandemic began.
Be Safe on the Field
Before you get back on the field (or court) this spring, consider these five tips to do so safely.
Get Yourself in Game-Ready Shape
Have you been relatively sedentary during the pandemic? Working out before your season starts helps you build cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility. Start slowly and build up a little at a time, so you don’t overdo it and injure yourself.
Assess Your Risk Tolerance
Some people will feel comfortable playing team sports this spring, especially if they’ve already been vaccinated and the practices and games are outdoors.
If you haven't been vaccinated, consider skipping high-contact sports like basketball or football. Choose options that allow you to maintain more distance from others, such as tennis or golf.
Injured While Playing?
Follow up with an orthopedic specialist.
Follow COVID-19 Safety Protocol
Continue to follow the same virus protection measures you’ve been following for the last year:
- Wear a mask
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid touching your face
- Keep your distance as much as possible.
It may not be feasible to wear a mask while playing or to stay socially distant during a game, but do so as much as you can. Follow any sports team or league COVID-19 safety precautions.
Don’t Neglect Sport-Specific Safety Measures
Wear proper safety equipment for the sport you are playing – whether helmets, pads, mouth guards, or eye protection. Follow the rules of the game to lessen the chance of injury. Pay attention when on the field or the sidelines.
Warm Up Properly
No matter what type of shape you’re in, warming up before you start playing any sport is an important step in avoiding injury. Get your blood flowing and your muscles warmed up by doing some light cardiovascular activity, such as:
- Jogging in place
- Jumping jacks
Then stretch your muscles before the game starts – and again when you’re done – to maintain flexibility.
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