For people with chronic pain or medical conditions, participating in sports and other activities may be out of the question, but physical therapy can help. Even for those who believe themselves to be in good physical condition, physical therapy can enhance performance and aid in reducing the risk of injury.
Physical therapy is appropriate for adults and children participating in any organized sports. It’s a year-round solution that keeps individuals in good physical condition for whatever activity they choose to enjoy. The human body is susceptible to a myriad of injuries ranging from strains, sprains and fractures to injured muscles and dislocations.
Many people over-estimate their physical condition and don’t realize that each type of activity requires different muscle sets. An individual who has spent the winter skiing successfully isn’t necessarily in the appropriate physical condition to run a marathon.
Repetitive motion is one of the most common causes of injuries during recreational activities. It’s particularly prevalent in baseball pitchers, golfers, tennis players and even bicyclists. Activities in which any part of the body moves repeatedly in the same motions or that requires a significant amount of force behind an action can result in an injury.
Physical therapy will keep every part of the body ready to participate in activities ranging from rock climbing to golf. A physical therapist can show patients how to perform motions that reduce the potential for injury at work, home and play.
Physical therapy is beneficial for:
- Improving flexibility
- Building stability
- Improving coordination and balance
- Reducing the risk of injury
- Improving range of motion
- Better physical conditioning
Physical therapy is so effective that world-class Olympic competitors regularly utilize the therapies available to keep themselves in peak condition. Injuries have the potential to sideline even professional athletes for several games, the season, or even end a career. Physical therapy can determine a patient’s strengths and areas of weakness that could result in an injury.
Active participation isn’t the only time that individuals can sustain an injury. Insufficient stretching and warm-ups, poor training methods and overtraining can easily result in a serious injury. Many people over train and don’t even realize it. Muscle fatigue is common when the body isn’t allowed to rest and rebuild itself sufficiently.
Your physical therapist has a variety of evaluations and assessments that can be conducted to determine if you’re not moving correctly and increasing your risk of an injury. He/she can instruct you in ways to move that reduces the potential for an injury that will also improve your performance. Therapeutic exercises are beneficial for strengthening the core, providing you with increased stability, coordination and endurance.
If you participate in marathons and similar competitions, your physical therapist can design a customized program of exercises that address any weaknesses or areas of concern to prepare you for the big day. Exercise programs created by your physical therapist are equally effective if you only engage in recreational pursuits on the weekend or if you want to participate in a dance contest.
An often overlooked source of fitness is therapeutic massage. It relaxes the muscles and tendons of the body, allowing them to better respond when they’re called upon during play-related activities. It has the added benefit of promoting sleep, stimulating the immune system, ridding the body of toxins, and increasing circulation for better performance.
Swimming is a popular activity throughout the year and aqua therapy is an excellent resource for building muscle, coordination and balance. It reduces the weight and gravity on your body, allowing you to move easier and providing a form of resistance training. It’s beneficial for restoration and maintenance of your body; functioning of your lungs, heart and joints; and improving circulation.
Everyone needs time to play and your physical therapist can prepare you for any activity that you wish to enjoy. He/she can keep you moving well, increase your fitness level, and improve your performance every day of the year.