When playing games or following an exercise programme, sports injury prevention should be a top priority.
If you are unsure whether you are fit enough for your chosen activity, consult a doctor before pursuing it, and stop immediately if you start to feel over-tired or ill.
Warming-up and warming-down are a major part of all sports injury prevention. Five or ten minutes of light aerobic exercise such as running on the spot will help to raise your body temperature, follow with five minutes of stretching, holding each stretch for ten to fifteen seconds.
Sports injury prevention also requires a warm-down period after exercise; drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids, and gently stretch your muscles.
Mishaps such as bruises, sprained wrists, and torn hamstring muscles from gym workouts, running, tennis and other non-contact events, are usually due to poor technique such as the misuse of equipment or the lack of a warm-up. Whereas contact activities like rugby, boxing and ice hockey can be more risky, resulting in sudden pain from broken bones and fractures. Some physical discomfort may be termed chronic, as it is due to a persistent strain on a bodily part (for example tennis elbow).
Remember that acute physical conditions such as a knee ligament problem caused by a collision with another player can become long-term chronic conditions if they are not given enough time to heal.
A balanced diet can help to reduce the chances of muscle strain, as carbohydrates (particularly if eaten in the morning) aid muscle retraction, and Essential Fatty Acids and other healthy oils lubricate the joints, as well as being good for the heart.