Make the move from Rehab to ‘Prehab’
16th February 2016
Rehab is something we’re all familiar with. Sporting injuries are common and require a programme of physiotherapy and sometimes medical attention to allow you to get back on track. It can be a lengthy and painful process. But a new practice is emerging, which allies itself to the mantra ‘prevention is better than cure’. The process is called ‘Prehab’.
Prehab assesses and addresses any potential limitations athletes might have before embarking on a programme of training or exercise. While it is impossible to make yourself 100 percent resistant to injury, you can minimise your risk by understanding your current musculoskeletal health and working to improve functional movement related to your sport.
Sports such as triathlons involve making the same movements and exercises repeatedly over long stretches of time, so it makes sense to have an understanding of what impact this is having on your body and ways to minimise any negative impacts. Repetitive motion injuries are extremely common in sports like triathlon but can also be minimised with appropriate action.
As well as protecting yourself from potential injury, prehab gives you a thorough understanding of your body and its limitations with the ultimate goal of improving performance and, let’s face it, this is something we are all interested in.
There are a few things you can do on your own to help prevent injury. Here are a few:
Sleep. Don’t take pride in staying up late, working long hours and skipping sleep. The more you sleep the less you get injured. If you need to get up early, go to bed early.
Rest and recover. It’s important to plan rest and recovery. Too many people plan training, social activities and work, but don’t plan for relaxation – it just fills the gaps. Put time aside to read, listen to music or follow meditation apps. A good rest and recovery plan would include some excellent nutrition, at Nuffield Health we have experts who can help you with your daily diet, and sports specific nutrition to improve how you recover.
Become stronger. Athletes train hard in the gym to become more robust. A stronger athlete is less likely to get injured, and more likely to go faster. A Nuffield Health trainer will be able to help you with a specific programme, designed for your personal needs.
Have a body management programme. Good athletes know how to manage their bodies well. If something is stiff or tight, they know what to do. A body management programme may include some self-massage work on a foam roller or ball, some specific stretches and perhaps some control work. This could be a warm-up for training or they gym, or it could be something for when you’re in front of the TV at home.
Train well. Don’t become over trained and have some structure in your programme. Junk miles slow your progress and drain your body. Consider having a variety of training intensities across all three sports, split with rest periods or recovery sessions. What is your goal this week, month and year – have focus to your training. You can monitor your training state in a number of ways, but make sure you’re feeling stronger with training, not weaker!
While these simple principles on prehab provide good general advice, there isn’t one standard blueprint for how everyone’s body should move and function so it’s important to fit your prehab work to your individual needs and goals.
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