For Young Athletes, Aquatics Can Offer Injury Prevention and Intervention
At this time of year, many young athletes are eagerly involved in training for their preferred sports. Baseball players are hitting the field, track and field stars are increasing their stamina and soccer enthusiasts are earnestly working on their skills. Most middle and high school students, as well as those in college, have a commonly-shared belief that they are indestructible. Unfortunately, some may discover to their surprise that injuries suffered when young can lead to long-term health problems, which make injury prevention important.
One of the biggest complaints among older athletes is that they are forced to struggle with issues that came from over training, poor training and repetitive stressors during their youth. Yet, how is it possible to get better without the old “no pain, no gain” philosophy? This is especially a concern for athletes who focus on one sport. For instance, a baseball player may spend hours upon hours practicing the direct skills that will be used during games, such as throwing, catching and swinging. These repetitive motions start to wear down joints. It’s not uncommon for even young players to experience shoulder issues and elbow problems. In other fields, this is known as the law of diminishing returns. Sure, doing more may seem a logical way to get better, but at a young age it can cause more harm than good. The answer is to focus on injury prevention.
Preventing Injuries Involves Spotting Overtraining Signs
Injury prevention in younger athletes can be approached in a number of ways. The first is by understanding the signs of over training, which may be well-hidden in children, teens and young adults. For instance, parents of a sophomore in high school who seems to be sleeping less and complains of regular headaches may overlook the possibility that the root cause of these complaints is overexertion. Similarly, coaches can struggle to determine if an athlete is truly weak and dizzy from too much training, rather than simply trying to get out of doing extra work. It’s a difficult balance for everyone involved, but there are ways to increase training without increasing injury risks.
Aquatics to the Rescue for Safer Prevention of Sports Injuries
Aquatics is now taking center stage as a viable method for injury prevention by offering a low-impact environment in which young athletes can increase their strength, endurance and VO2 max without pounding their bodies. As a benefit of exercising regularly in an underwater environment with advanced equipment, athletes are able to improve their skills in a safer medium than only working out on land. Water exercising, such as running or sprinting on an underwater treadmill, offers versatility while challenging the athlete who is determined to get better. As researchers have pointed out, HydroWorx therapy pools can be excellent modalities to securely add hours of training each week.
Hydrotherapy for Quicker Injury Recovery and Better Long-Term Outcomes
Of course, injuries are sometimes unavoidable, especially during games, matches or meets. For young athletes who are struggling to come back from sprains, strains and even surgical procedures, hydrotherapy offers a way to rehabilitate without having to wait until the afflicted part of the body can bear weight. The warm water not only provides buoyancy, but its hydrostatic pressure creates a soothing compression effect on recovering muscles, tendons, joints, etc. Throughout the nation, physical therapy clinics are embracing water rehab as one tool to get young athletes healthier faster than ever before. By giving athletes a way to stay active early in their recovery period without exacerbating injuries, physical therapists can help minimize later-life risk factors such as debilitating arthritis.
To all the young people who are actively involved in sports, HydroWorx wishes a safe and happy season! We support athletes of all ages, including those who are just starting to make a splash in their athletic journeys, wherever they might lead.
Hear from the experts at Michael Johnson Performance about their philosophy for reducing overuse and over training injuries in this video below.