Special to the Daily Press
More than 11 million people visit them each year because of knee problems. Nearly six million seek help for shoulder injuries. And 4.8 million people visit their physicians with foot or ankle difficulties.
Many sports-related injuries are simply unavoidable. On the other hand, a significant number can be prevented, according to Dr. Michael Sisk, M.D.
"Whether you're a weekend warrior or a professional, one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your risk of injury is to maintain flexibility through stretching," he said.
Sisk offers several suggestions on stretching which, in addition to reducing the risk of injury, can improve performance.
First, he recommends stretching for 10 to 20 minutes. Warming up muscles before stretching with a walk or an easy jog can make stretching more effective.
Sisk also suggests paying particular attention to the muscles that will be used most during an athletic activity. However, all muscles need to be stretched, not just those that will be used directly.
Stretching too strenuously can also lead to injury, so stretches should be done for 10 seconds without bouncing.
Also, stretching after a workout is just as vital as stretching before a workout. Cool-down stretches also help the most in improving flexibility.