Football…baseball…basketball—as the seasons change, so do the sports. And with each new sports season comes new injuries, which is why our team at AFC Urgent Care Knoxville wants to help you prepare your body. Take Your Best Shot at Health As preseason comes to an end and the Tennessee men’s basketball and women’s basketball seasons begin, it’s time to start thinking about what all athletes, no matter what sport they play, can do to protect their health both on and off the court. For starters, before you begin any sport, you want to make sure your health is ready to play! Sports physicals are available at our urgent care center without an appointment seven days a week. After undergoing a physical, athletes can rest assured that they are stepping on the court in the best health possible. Once you (or your child) have gotten the green-light to participate, then it’s time to practice prevention. Johns Hopkins Medicine states one-third of all injuries incurred in childhood are sports-related injuries. While there is no way to entirely prevent injuries in sports, there are many ways to reduce your risk. For starters, it’s important to ensure your body is properly warmed up and conditioned for activity. Many injuries can be prevented by not rushing straight into play. For example, as a basketball player, you don’t want to go right on the court to play a game without having even prepared. Instead, you want to get your body into shape before your first competitive game. To get your body into shape, try a three-part strategy that includes: Cardio Start off in intervals of running and walking in order to build your endurance. Work up to a five-mile run by walking for five minutes, running for one, and gradually increasing the amount of time you spend running. If running isn’t your favorite, you can also build up your endurance with other types of cardio, including swimming, rowing and HIIT. Strength Training Lifting weights or even using your own body weight as resistance can help build stronger muscles, tendons and ligaments so that injuries are less likely. As with any activity, start with light weights—or just body weight—and then gradually build up to heavier weights. Be sure you’re using equipment and weights correctly by talking with a trainer or a fitness professional. Nutrition You also want to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs to keep your body healthy during the game. First, be sure to drink plenty of water, particularly before, during and after activity. Second, fill your plate with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like turkey and chicken. Protein is especially important for giving your body energy and stamina. Whether your little one suffered an injury on the field or you sprained an ankle on your morning run, the team at AFC Urgent Care Knoxville is here to help care for your injury promptly and efficiently so that you can get back in the game!