One of the depressing things about getting older is the fact that you can’t throw yourself across a squash court or hurtle around a football pitch with the same careless abandon you had as a teenager. If you want to stay out of A&E, you have to be more careful when it comes to your sporting and general lifestyle choices.

The good news is, you don’t have to give up the sports you love. You just have to be a little more careful when you’re showcasing your skills in your favourite activities. The following simple tips should help you to cut the risk of sports injuries.

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Don’t push it

One big no no when it comes to sports is to push your body too hard. You need to take into account your current fitness level when you’re exerting yourself. If you overstretch yourself, you risk suffering injuries like a meniscus tear. This is a type of knee injury that affects the cartilage between the knee bones. In some cases, a piece of this shock absorbing material breaks loose. If this happens, it can catch in the knee joint and make it lock up.

Bear in mind you can build your fitness levels up. If you’ve not been doing much exercise of late, start slowly and gradually work up to more high-octane activities.

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Use the right safety equipment

Also, make sure you invest in all the relevant safety gear for the sports you play. For example, decent boots with proper grip and a good pair of shin pads are must if you’re playing football. Once you’ve bought these items, remember to use them. They could save you from a lot of pain and potentially serious injuries.

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Always warm up

Always warm up properly before you exercise too. Getting stuck into high-energy activities straight away without warming your muscles and joints up first is a recipe for disaster. You’re much more likely to sustain a torn meniscus or suffer other injuries if you fail to prepare your body.

Your warm ups should last for at least six minutes, but take longer if you feel you need to. Simple actions like marching on the spot, heel digs, knee lifts, shoulder rolls and knee bends could help you prepare your body for action. Hamstring stretches, calf stretches and inner thigh stretches may be important too. Make sure your warm up is tailored to the sport you’re about to play. It should focus on the muscles you will use most.

Don’t forget your cool down

After you’ve finished your game, take a little time to cool down too. Some stretches will help your muscles to recover more quickly. In turn, this will help ensure you’re ready for action next time you play sport.

It does take a little thought to prevent sports injuries as you get older. However, by making an effort to protect your body, you can help ensure you’re able to carry on doing the activities you love for many years to come.

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