November: tips for hockey
Hockey season is here and it’s time to talk about how to stay injury free on and off the ice.
BC Physiotherapists share 4 tips to prevent injury, alleviate pain and keep British Columbians moving for life.
Vancouver, BC November 1, 2012| Hockey is back. The Vancouver Canucks are on the ice, as are lots of BC’s kids both the young and the young-at-heart. When lacing up for early morning or late night practices and games, safety needs to be a priority for everyone. The Physiotherapy Association of BC has compiled 4 tips to help players stay injury and pain free while playing Canada’s Game.
“Before you or your child even step on to the ice, make sure you are well equipped,” says Rebecca B. Tunnacliffe, CEO of the Physiotherapy Association of BC. “Getting fitted with the right equipment helps to prevent injury from muscle imbalance, flying pucks, body contact and accidental collisions.” And, with all the attention on concussions, it is important to be mindful about how to prevent giving or receiving one. “If you or a member of your family gets a concussion,” she continues, “your physiotherapist can design a program to ensure a safe return to the ice.”
Physiotherapists have extensive knowledge and experience when it comes to designing a safe and effective pre- and post-ice warm-up program to keep players pain and injury free. Here are some of their top tips:
1. Prepare to play. A dynamic warm up has been shown to be a powerful factor in reducing injury. Start with 5 to 10 minutes of large muscle activity such as a few slow laps of the rink, stair climbing or some spins on a stationary bike.
2. Keep muscles in balance. Muscles used repetitively in hockey create large imbalances in strength and tightness. Stretch tight muscles and strengthen weak ones. You can reduce muscle strain by wearing properly fitted equipment, especially the helmet and shoulder pads. And, be sure that your stick is the right length.
3. Train your body for hockey. Hockey specific off-ice training exercises will improve control of your neck, spine and pelvis, and will help with skating, puck skills and safe body contact.
4. Prevent giving or receiving a concussion. Always approach the boards on an angle not straight on. Avoid the danger zone by being on the boards or 3-4 feet away from them. Never check from behind or make suicide passes. If you get hurt, your physiotherapist can help you get back on the ice safely.
The Physiotherapy Association of BC created the Physio-4 to share the expertise of its members with fellow British Columbians. “Each month, on our website (movingforlife.ca), we provide 4 tips for a specific activity or health issue relating to that month to help keep British Columbians moving for life,” says Tunnacliffe. “We want British Columbians to know that if they are injured or in pain, a physiotherapist can help. After all, we are the healthcare professionals physicians recommend most,” she states. The Physio-4Tips for Hockey provides suggestions to keep players pain and injury free both on and off the ice.
To learn more about how physiotherapists keep British Columbians moving for life, visit movingforlife.ca.
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