Each year, more than 40 million Americans participate in an estimated 23 million softball league games, making softball the nation's most popular sport. Unfortunately, along with increased participation comes the increased incidence of injury.
The best way to reduce your risk of injury is to keep your body healthy and fit with a sport-specific training program for softball. Profiling for a personalized nutrition and vitamin and supplement plan is another effective way to maintain optimal fitness and health for your sport.
Many players make the mistake of beginning their training when the season has already started, instead of training during the off-season. The body needs time to adapt to the effects of exercise, and one or two weeks is simply not enough! Following the Periodization of Strength principles will ensure your body is ready for the upcoming season and you are primed for your best performance ever!
Most softball injuries are related to base sliding and therefore occur as sprains, strains or fractures at the ankles, knees, shoulders and wrists. Other injuries occur as a result of over-exerting during the run between the bases or overstressing the shoulder joint while following through with the throwing arm.
The most effective way to reduce the risk of injury to any joint is to strengthen the muscles that cross or surround the joint. This strengthening process enables muscles to effectively perform their role of dynamic stabilization, therefore allowing the joints to sustain the trauma or excessive external forces that occur during a softball game. Following a proper Anatomical Adaptation phase is a great way to prepare your body for competition.
Click on the links below for exercises to strengthen the joints related to the most common injury sites in softball.
1. Preventive and rehabilitative exercises for the shoulder
2. Preventive and rehabilitative exercises for the wrist
3. Preventive and rehabilitative exercises for the knee and ankle
Performing these exercises one to two days per week along with a softball-specific conditioning program will greatly reduce your risk of injury and ensure you get the most out of your season.
Eating right provides your body with the nutrients it requires to stay healthy and strong. Try these injury-prevention tips throughout the season:
To reduce high levels of fatigue that lead to injury, consume quality foods that have a low glycemic index value. Some examples include whole grain breads and pastas, beans and legumes, as well as most fruit.
For optimal bone health, consume calcium-enriched foods such as high quality dairy products and green leafy vegetables.
Consume foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as omega-3 eggs, nuts and salmon.
For optimal muscle health, consume lean proteins such as tuna and chicken breast.
For a detailed, personal meal plan that includes the right balance of carbohydrates, lean proteins and fat, complete your Truestar Nutrition Profile and select the athletic plan.
Vitamins and supplements
To stay injury-free, healthy and strong, vitamins and supplements can provide your body with the extra edge it needs or fill a potential void in your nutritional requirements. Try these injury-prevention tips throughout the season:
Take a daily multivitamin to provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy and fit.
To help strengthen and rebuild your joints, take a glucosamine sulfate or MSM supplement.
Take a daily fish oil supplement to control sport-related inflammation and keep your joints well lubricated.