More and more people are turning to sports and exercise than ever before in Thailand, which is a good trend. But keeping yourself injury-free is of paramount importance!
Many people may not know it, but Thai people are great sports enthusiasts and sports lovers. From football and basketball to golf and the popular sport of badminton, Thais definitely have a taste for sports.
I, too, enjoy seeing my Thai friends over the weekend for a session of golf or a few rounds of squash. Luckily for me, living in Bangkok means I have access to many sports venues and facilities that offer excellent amenities. Some of my favorite places include the British Club, Bangkok, which has a range of excellent sporting facilities, and Tee 42 to practice on the golf range.
How to avoid sports-related injuries
As a sporty person, I am always conscious of injuries that may occur. I have seen, heard, and even experienced some discomforting injuries myself. Sometimes it’s a little twist of the knee or sprain to the wrist, but other times there have been cuts, bruises, and more.
Most of the wounds heal quickly with simple first aid, while others require attention from medical professionals. Fortunately, I have international health insurance, which on all occasions has covered me for the much-needed visit to the doctors or an x-ray of the limb I sustained an injury on. Generally, I like to do a few things before I start playing a sport such as warming up or stretching.
Here are some of my tips before getting straight into a sport you love:
Getting enough sleep or rest
This cannot be stressed enough, as the body requires sleep to recover from the stresses and strains from the day before. How about this for knowledge: did you know that healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night?
Sleep plays an important role in physical health. It helps to repair muscles and allows for growth and recovery. Ongoing sleep deprivation deficiency as they call it is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. More importantly, you are at greater risk of injuring yourself when playing a sport due to a lack of concentration and awareness.
You have probably heard this many, many times before. The importance of warming up cannot be stressed enough. A warm-up for me normally begins with a light jog on the spot. This generally gets my heart pumping and muscles activated, especially the arms and legs. Next, I like to loosen my joints by doing star jumps that maintain the heart rate, but also help loosen the joints in the arms and hips. It’s also nice when you are doing it to a rhythm if you have music on.
Although stretching is considered a form of physical exercise, it is completely necessary to prevent injuries before playing a sport. Here are some stretches I like to do to get myself ready for an intense round of squash with my friends:
- Standing hamstring stretch - stretches the neck, back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.
- Lunge with a spinal twist - stretches for the hip flexors, quads, and back.
- Triceps stretch - stretches the neck, shoulders, back, and triceps.
- Butterfly stretch - stretches the hips, glutes, back, and thighs.
- Knee to chest stretch - stretches the lower back
The stretches above are some, but not all, that I like to do to get my body loosened before heading out to a golf course or onto a court. By stretching, I rarely sustain an injury and can avoid a trip to a hospital. I would highly encourage you to spend at least 10-15 minutes getting your body fully stretched before and after playing a sport to avoid sustaining an injury.
Wearing correct clothing and footwear
Before I head out to play a sport, whether that’s squash, football, or golf, I always make sure that I have the appropriate clothing. Thailand can get very hot during the summer months and is generally humid, so clothing that is made from breathable fabric is recommended. Otherwise, you’ll be soaking in your own pool of sweat! Sports clothes are also designed to be stretched to allow for full movement without any hindrance.
Footwear is also very important and many sports like squash, football, and golf require specialist shoes or boots. Different footwear will have different features. For instance, football boots have studs for grass, and shoes for squash have thick soles to absorb related footstrike impact. If in doubt, there are many sports stores like Nike and Adidas in major shopping centers throughout Bangkok and in other major cities.
Experts at these stores can put you through a running assessment and perform a gait analysis. Data provided can help you pick the right type of shoe for the sport you play and mitigate the risk of injuries. I would highly recommend doing it.
Getting protection in the form of health insurance
In life, you can never rule out the risk of injury, and sometimes injuries occur whether you do a sport or not. From my experience of working for a health insurance broker Pacific Prime Thailand, I feel reassured knowing that if I ever need medical attention for a sports-related injury in Thailand, my health insurance plan will cover the cost of medical treatment and services.
If you’d like to learn more about health insurance in Thailand or even pick up a few more personal tips from me, you’re more than welcome to get in touch. Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact one of my colleagues.