So you want to play tennis and not get injured doing it. Sounds simple enough, but research shows that for every thousand hours of the sport, up to 3 injuries occur.
You’ll get to a thousand hours in less than four years if you play a few sets each week.
Researchers are beginning to figure out how you can prevent these problems. But we still have a ways to go.
Kei Nishikori, who lost the U.S. Open final yesterday, is a case in point, according to Sports Illustrated:
His injury woes started with a right-elbow issue that required surgery and sidelined him for all but three months in 2009 and most of the first three months of 2010. He’s also struggled with back, knee, abdominal and toe injuries. In May, Nishikori led Nadal by a set and a break in the Madrid Open final before eventually retiring with back pain.
I used to love tackle football. Big for my age, I enjoyed the collision with other bodies. I never played on a team, just with a bunch of high school friends. We had no helmets or pads. We couldn’t hit each other too hard, or we’d get hurt ourselves, and we certainly never used our heads as weapons.
I wonder what would be the incidence of concussion now if that’s how people played competitive football. Studies in rugby have generally shown that helmets don’t prevent concussion in that sport.
The research on concussions is pretty mixed as it is. I covered an interesting study on this for Medscape and Healthline when I was in New Orleans in March for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual meeting. Gregory W. Stewart, chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Tulane University School of Medicine told me high school football players he studied didn’t seem to be sustaining serious injuries.
Tracking 1,289 Louisiana high school football players from 1997 to 2000, he and his colleagues found that the more time the teenagers spent on the field, the better they did on tests of their mental abilities.
Northern California is setting heat records this week, and hot weather is on its way to the rest of the country. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise, but be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Consider moving your workout to the evening or early morning. Rest and cool down if you start to feel uncomfortable. If you are working out in a hot place — or with someone else who is — be alert to these more serious signs from the American College of Sports Medicine and the Red Cross.
Heat cramps are painful muscle spasms that result from overheating. They usually occur in the legs and abdomen.
If you are sitting down while you’re reading this, please stand up. Now sit down again. And up.
If you could do that about every 10 minutes all day, you would probably live a longer life. But I know I couldn’t. It would be incredibly boring.
I would much rather get my exercise playing some sort of game. Most people have enjoyed sports at some point in their lives, but too many think they are too old. They’re afraid of injury, which is the point of this blog. So lots of people to whom I’ve described it said right away that they could see the need.
On the other hand, a few wise asses have told me they already know how to avoid sports injuries — by not doing sports.
My question for them, is “What will you do instead?” If the answer is “walking” or “gardening” or “exercise with Gloria and her six daughters”