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With youth sports leagues right around the corner, kids will be getting ready to start playing a host of sports in the next few weeks.  With more sports and extensive practices for games comes the important need to make sure growing athletes stay injury free.  With the growing norm of young athletes playing year round in different sports, it is crucial for athletes to have a routine of stretching and warm-ups before each game and practice to decrease the chance of injuries.
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That’s easier said than done.  The real trick is to start implementing times to add active stretching and warm-ups throughout the day.  Why is that?  Let’s look at the animal world for a moment and see their habits and if we can learn anything.  Let’s look at the giant tigers before a hunt.  Before they get up and about to hunt for the pack, do they stop and hold their legs to stretch for a few moments and then go out for the hunt?  No!  If you look at animals they are constantly stretching, rotating and making their body limber throughout the day before they go out for their hunting.  Yes, animals are always in a routine of some form of dynamic warm-up by nature.  And the result?  In the moment where they have to really use their body to its full potential, they are ready.  And you don’t see a lion pulling its hamstring every time they go after their prey or talking about how tight their lower back is for the day.  No, animals already have these regimens dialed in.  How can we implement these habits?  Try this:
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Dynamic Warm-ups
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Take several minutes before the game to start stretching in the same motions of the activities you will be involved in.  For example, make movements similar to your sport.  Don’t just make linear movements, think about all the twists and turns you have to perform throughout the game and move your body in those ways.  Have fun!  Don’t just get bored doing the same stretches, but test new movements and consciously think about how your body is feeling in those positions.  During the warm-up, assess how your body feels.  Can you lean more into a stretch?  Do you have a nagging pain while to trying to push off or foot or the other?  If I close my eyes and try to move, does my balance become worse?
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Take the time to put your body first.  When you’re warming up, perform stretches and body weight movements to promote proper alignment and mechanics of your core and neck.  For instance, if you will be doing a lot of squats or a variety of squats it’s important to remember proper mechanics in your warm-up to align your posture for that task.  It’s the old saying: if you do it in practice, you’re going to make the same mistake in the game.  Take the time to focus on the movements.
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Taking a few moments before each practice or game can drastically change your outlook and body awareness, which will help you be able to decrease the chance of injury during the game, and could save you a trip to a sports injury doctor Rockville MD trusts.
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Thanks to our friends and contributors from Advanced Spine & Wellness Center for their insight into sports related injuries.
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