I’m sure many of you have the tradition of participating in Thanksgiving family football, soccer or basketball games. We call these Turkey Bowls at our house. This can be a great time and something everyone looks forward to. However, if you don’t take care of your body and make smart choices, you can land yourself in the urgent care or at home with a nagging injury.
The most important step to keeping you injury free is starting out with a good . Getting out of your car, walking over to the field, bending to the left and the right and then saying, “Let’s play!” is not considered a good warm-up.
You want to start out with a light jog and getting your heart rate up to at least 60 percent of your maximum heart rate for about 10 minutes. This will allow the body to slowly transition to being ready to exercise. Include in your warm-up some dynamic movements to get the body moving through its full range of motion.
While you are having fun with your family, be sure to pay attention to your body. If you start to develop a pain or ache, modify your activity or take a break. These minor pains can lead to major injuries if they are left unattended.
Another tip for avoiding injury is to wear properly fitted equipment, including shoes. Nothing screams injury like joining a pick-up basketball game wearing flip-flops or slip-on shoes. You might be tempted to just jump in, but you are better off going home and getting your court shoes before joining the game.
Finally, end your Turkey Bowl with a good cool down. Take time to stretch out all of your major muscles and gradually decrease your heart rate back to its normal resting rate. If you end the game by jogging to your car, driving home and watching football the rest of the day, you are going to find yourself petty sore by the end of the day. Stretching your muscles helps to release the lactic acid build up and minimize the delayed onset of muscle soreness.
Enjoy your health and your time with your family!