by Kerry Quinn
JRN 217: Journalistic Reporting and Writing
Even during the pandemic, athletes, trainers and gym members all over work hard to stay in shape by participating in sporting events and competitions or by making weekly visits to a local gym or sports club. But too often, injuries involving sports and training can take a toll.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 8.6 million sports injuries occur each year on an athletic field as well as at sports facilities including gyms.
Strength trainer Cynthia Conde at the Fitness Loft in Manhasset, New York has participated in many strength training competitions and teaches multiple exercise classes a day. She stresses the importance of proper form.
“I always try to teach form, because it is the most important aspect of training,” she said. “Without the right form, you will not reach your overall fitness goals, and you will most likely injure yourself if you are using the wrong muscles.”
For example, she said, many weightlifters avoid “deadlifts,” because when done incorrectly, they can cause lots of pain. But deadlifts target every muscle in your body, giving you a full body workout.
To properly do a deadlift, she said, you must first bend over and grab the barbell with both hands in a squatting position. With a flat back and knees slightly bent, squeeze your butt and your core and lift the bar off the ground. Lift the bar slightly above your knees until you are standing up straight while your hips thrust forward. Then place or drop the bar on the floor and repeat these same movements a few times, if possible.
“Deadlifts are one of my favorite exercises.” Conde said. “They always make my workouts feel complete.”
Gym-goers and athletes can avoid injuries by taking time off, using correct form and proper techniques, and most important, stretching. Kevin Krauss, 20, goes to Planet Fitness in Levittown, New York nearly every day. He swears by stretching as a post-workout method of avoiding injuries.
“After my workout, I always find time to stretch in order to recover my muscles,” he said. “I’ve been using the gym for years, and I’ve found that this is my favorite way to finish off my gym visits.”
Stretching is important but can also cause injury if done improperly. It is important to warm up your muscles prior to your stretch. Ten minutes of light jogging or walking can help prep your muscles.
While stretching, hold your stretch for only 10 to 30 seconds to avoid overstretching or muscle tears. Overstretching can cause injury, so it is important to stretch only to the point of mild discomfort. Make sure to include stretching in your daily routine and take time to breathe through each stretch to recover your muscles after a hard workout.
Athletic injuries are very common. They can be as simple as scraping or bruising any part of your body. Caroline Kelly, a student athlete and nursing major at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., has tons of experience dealing with scrapes and bruises, not only on the field but in the classroom as well.
“Playing on the women’s volleyball team all these years, I myself have had a few athletic injuries from constantly sliding across the court to reach the ball,” Kelly said. “Although we are required to wear knee padding as a part of our uniform to protect ourselves, it is not always 100 percent effective. Using ice packs or heating pads to reduce bruising or heal sore muscles is very effective.”
In a telephone interview, Loncey Conyers, a student athlete playing on the baseball team at Iona College, said that competitive sports can be tough at times. “Not only with my team but the opposite team can get very wrapped up in the game, and before you know it, someone ends up with a broken arm or leg,” he said. “It’s important to always follow the game plan and communicate with your teammates and coaches in order to avoid any injuries in the future.”
Athletic injuries can be scary, yet they are unavoidable at times. The best ways to avoid them are wrapped up in a few simple rules, and following these rules will help further your athletic journey. Giving yourself some time off from exercising to recover always helps.