COVID-19 precautions are just one way to stay safer on the field.
Don’t forget to do this, too.
As the flowers bloom and the weather warms, you may be looking forward to getting back on the field to play your favorite spring sports. But before you do, make sure you’re prepared to keep yourself safe from COVID-19 and from injury.
Like many other things in our lives, spring sports may feel different this year. For one, we’ll still have to take precautions due to the COVID-19 virus. Another factor we’ll have to address so we don’t get hurt may also be a result of the pandemic. There’s a good chance we may be out of shape or out of practice because we haven’t been able to play the sports we love due to strict restrictions during the past year.
So before you get back on the field (or court) this spring, consider these 5 tips to do so more safely:
- Get yourself in game-ready shape. If you have spent most of the pandemic being relatively sedentary, spend some time before your season begins to get in better shape. Working out before your season starts helps you build cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength and flexibility. Start slowly and build up a little at a time so you don’t overdo it and injure yourself.
- Assess your risk tolerance. Some people will feel comfortable playing team sports this spring – especially if they’ve already been vaccinated and the game is being played outdoors. But if you have not been vaccinated and are concerned about possible exposure to the virus, skip high-contact sports like basketball or football and instead choose sports that allow you to maintain more distance from others, such as tennis or golf.
- Follow COVID-19 safety protocol. Continue to follow the same virus protection measures you’ve been following for the last year. Wear a mask, wash your hands often, avoid touching your face and keep your distance as much as possible. It may not be feasible to wear a mask while playing or to stay socially distant during a game, but do so as much as you can. Follow any team or league COVID-19 safety precautions.
- Don’t neglect sport-specific safety measures. Exposure to the COVID-19 virus shouldn’t overshadow the risks inherent in playing any particular sport. Wear proper safety equipment for the sport you are playing – whether helmets, pads, mouth guards or eye protection. Follow the rules of the game to lessen the chance of injury. Pay attention when on the field or the sidelines.
- Warm-up properly. No matter what type of shape you’re in, warming up before you start playing any sport is an important step in avoiding injury. Get your blood flowing and your muscles warmed up by doing some light cardiovascular activity, such as walking, jogging in place or jumping jacks. Then stretch your muscles before the game starts – and again when you’re done – to maintain flexibility.
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Date Last Reviewed: February 17, 2021
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD