7 tips to get in the game and play sports safely this spring

NEW YORK -- Spring is here and with it, the desire to get back outside and play your favorite sport, or maybe you or your child wants to learn a new one.

Dr. Edward Laskowski, a Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Co-director of Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine, has seven tips on how you and your family can stay safe while having fun and enjoying your favorite activities.

First, don't forget to work on your core training, especially for runners.

"The core is the platform from which you propel force," Dr. Laskowski said. "Also strength training will help you from getting leg injuries, muscle strains, or muscle overload injuries."

Preparing before you go out there will help protect you in the long run. Paying attention to your movement patterns is key.

His second tip is, "It's not practice that makes perfect, it's perfect practice." You don't want to repeat the same motion in the wrong way over and over again.

Third, "fix your form." Correct those form problems with exercises and stop doing anything that is causing you pain. Consult a professional to correct your technique and the position of your body.

Fourth, it's not just what's going on with the outside of your body, it's what you are putting in it! "Food is fuel," Dr. Laskowski said. "Nothing has supplanted clean eating. Vegetable and fruit dominant with lean meats and proteins."

Fifth, "Hydration is really important as we go into the summer months," Dr. Laskowski said.

Try some biking, hiking and walking with your family. His sixth tip is to "Get moving!" Dr. Laskowski added that "the more you can get movement into your day the better."

Finally, his seventh tip is for kids to work with coaches and pros to "learn the basics."

"Really learning how to throw a ball the right way or swing a club the right way is very important," Dr. Laskowski said. "We want kids to have the proper foundation."
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