Fall sports are just around the corner, which also brings the possibility of injuries. Fortunately, many injuries can be prevented to some degree if appropriate steps are taken. There are a few things you can do now to prevent the possibilities of lost time during the start of fall practices:
1. Hydration. Energy drinks and the like are not what I would consider good hydration options. Some sports drinks (like Gatorade or Powerade) are pretty good, but water is the best choice for fluid replacement. If you’ve been working out, one serving of chocolate milk makes a great recovery drink post exercise. Otherwise, significant amounts of water before and during activities and workouts is highly recommended.
2. Rest. Now is also the time to be giving your body adequate rest to be ready for the rigors of fall sports. Rest and recovery is essential for performance in any sport. Catch up on those hours you may have lost during the early parts of the summer. The body benefits most from at least 8 hours of good sleep to tolerate the stresses of conditioning.
3. Footwear. Depending on what sport you participate in, it’s time to get the shoes you need and break them in. By doing this now, you control how sore your feet get and have your shoes broken in by the time you start. Blisters or other foot ailments due to poorly broken in shoes at the time of fall sports can keep you sidelined.
4. Conditioning. If you’ve been following some type of conditioning program over the summer, I would highly recommend backing down a bit 7 to 10 days before practice starts to allow your body to recover and replenish for the demands of the fall pre-season.
If you took the summer off, there’s not much you can do that this point—other than get ready to be extremely uncomfortable the first few weeks of fall camp. Anything you could do now until the start of the season would be beneficial, but to maximize the benefit of where you want to be, you really need about six weeks. Do what you can—but there’s not much you can do to make up for lost time.
Taking these small preventative measures can make a significant difference in preparing for your sport. Best of luck to all of you, and may you have a healthy fall season.