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I'm sure you have through life contemplated trying a new sport, new form of exercise or new activity that inspired you to get the ball rolling on a new path in your health and fitness journey. You may have gone and bought new clothing, new shoes to fit in with the crowd. I know I have a few times with oz tag, bouldering, football, union and the list goes on with the amount of things I have tried.

Covid was a big year for this and I noticed that with everyone being kept indoors it spiked a movement to pick up outdoor fitness activities like walking, jogging and sprinting or even using outdoor park gyms. The movement towards running was probably the biggest in my opinion as I saw with increased numbers found in the physio for running related injuries and seeing more people outdoors going for a run.

So How Do You Pick Up A New Sport?

In an ideal world you would go through a process of strength and conditioning to prepare your body physically and mentally before undertaking something that it is not used to. However we live in an age now where if you are wanting to do something you do it not caring too much about the repercussions. I myself went and joined a sport or picked up a new activity with low preparation and saw how much damage was caused to my muscles/joints which deterred me from them.

My recommendation is to assess the sport you are wanting to start:

  1. What movements are you going to be doing the most of?

  2. What joints are you primarily using?

  3. Which muscles are you primarily using?

  4. What does peak performance look like?

  5. What steps do I have to take to become good at this?

Once you answer these questions you will be well informed in knowing what is going to happen to your body and what is being used the most! Knowing these things will come in handy with preparation both physically and mentally!

How Do You Prevent Injury When Picking Up A New Sport?

As I said before, in the physio I noticed many people coming in with running related injuries which was due to the spike of people picking up the sport underprepared.

Answering those questions listed above will give you the information you need to be better informed about the sport you are taking on and what it will be doing to your body.

Remember what I say in a lot of my blogs. Injuries occur due to joint load > joint capacity.

So when you take on running you are going to be using your legs a lot more. Your ankles, knees and hips are going to have to handle an increased load as you run which is basically gliding/jumping from foot to foot. If your legs are used to sitting or casual walking then starting to run from 0-100 is going to cause damage as joint load will be greater than joint capacity...

E.g. I was asked to fill in for my one of my friends union teams a few years back which to me back then I thought I would be sweet, I have played football, oz tag and touch prior to this which gave me the belief that I was prepared. BUT I didn't answer the questions...

My legs may have been prepared due to all those sports I was playing which were primarily lower body focused but my shoulders were not. All the sports I played I did not really have to use my shoulders to the extent union required it. So I was running with the ball in my hands and was coming up head to head with the opposition. As he went in for the tackle I was knocked at least 10 metres, landed on my shoulder and it got dislocated.

If I answered the question I could have prepared better for this and increased the strength within and around my shoulder joint. This would have increased my joints capacity and made sure joint load < joint capacity and this would have decreased my risk of injury.

So answer those questions before taking on a new sport or athletic endeavour and see how you play out knowing which joints and muscles you will be using the most!!


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