Sooner or later, any amateur athlete and even professional ones faces an injury. In triathlon the risk is higher, because it’s a sport made up of three different types of activities, each with its own particularities, each with its own problems.
There is no universal solution to protect us from injuries, but we can prevent it so that we face as few injuries as possible throughout a sporting career.
We talked to Dr. Cristian Răchitan, an osteopathic doctor, who shared some basic principles to protect us from injuries.
Not a day without stretching
“During training, the muscles tense, contract. For the body to reach the maximum level of performance, but also to avoid injuries, the muscles and joints must be flexible. In any sport, of any type, the flexibility of the body is essential”, says Cristian Răchitan. According to him, we can achieve optimal flexibility only through stretching exercises. „Generally speaking, sports accidents are muscle strains or injuries to the muscle tendons.” The doctor says that we need to perform two types of stretching exercises, for general maintenance and, more specifically, for warm-up. “When you start doing sports, it’s good to do some specific exercises for the muscles you are going to use. It shouldn’t take too much. On the other hand, in the morning, regardless of the training session that follows that day, you should do a series of stretching exercises. It’s a basic routine, that everyone has to do. The muscles are tense not only from sports activity, but also from stress.”
Go to bed before midnight
„The best sleep is before midnight,” says the doctor. 21.30 is the maximum time a professional athlete can go to bed. As for the amateur athletes, it is recommended to sleep at least one hour before midnight.
The importance of the proper diet
The doctor does not recommend meat in the diet of triathletes. „It is better not to eat protein before sports.” There must be a buffer zone of at least two hours between meals and training.
Proteins put the body to work, says the osteopath, which is why they are not recommended before training. „Protein digestion requires intense gastric activity. It needs a lot of blood and thus it doesn’t reach the muscles too much”. „When you eat, 70% of the body’s energy is directed into digestion, you are left with only 30% for the muscles.”
Do not avoid sports even at -10 degrees Celsius
I also asked Dr. Cristian Răchitan if sports activity is good even at temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius. “It’s so healthy to always do cardio workouts outside, even when the temperatures are below 0 degrees. You put on the appropriate equipment, which molds to the body and retains heat and you can train even at -5, -10 degrees Celsius „, he says.
Specification: people suffering from various illnesses or the elderly are excluded.
„You have to adapt to the possibilities of the body, but people under the age of 40 don’t think they have problems with that.”
Stop at the slightest embarrassment
Athletes should be aware that they can aggravate their injuries if they do not stop in time, says Dr. Cristian Răchitan. „You have to stop at the slightest pain.”
„I recommend three days of training, one day break, three days of training, one day break. It has to start with short intervals and go up gradually, as time goes on; and then the intensity has to be increased”.
“After working hard for three, four, five months, only then do you start working at intensity; even if you feel that you can do more. Don’t be greedy, it’s good not to compete with your body, be friends with it, grow it step by step”.