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Recovery is the secret to better gains


As sports injuries among youths rise, focusing on the recovery journey becomes critical to avert long-term impacts that could affect both health and athletic potential.
Issue 3 | December 2023

Recovery is the secret to better gains

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The rush of adrenaline, the cheer of teammates, the sheer will to score - these elements fuel an athlete's performance on the field. Even as they push their limits, athletes face risk of injuries, some of which can lead to long-term, negative consequences.

In Singapore, sports injuries are increasingly prevalent in emergency rooms and sports clinics, especially among young athletes. Ranging from fractures to dislocations to concussions, such injuries not merely setbacks in a game but disruptions that can leave stubborn dents in a person's health and athletic potential.

Against this backdrop, it is recommended that individuals participating in sports, both competitively and recreationally, recognise the gravity of such injuries and the often lengthy - yet essential - recovery journey they often entail.

Listen to your body

Seeking timely medical intervention after an injury is crucial, as it significantly improves the chances of achieving a complete recovery. Incomplete or improper rehabilitation can lead to a range of adverse outcomes, such as decreased mobility or strength, as well as the emergence of chronic pain conditions.

Resuming intense activities too soon without allowing sufficient time for healing raises the risk of re-injury. It also increases the likelihood of developing chronic conditions, such as long-term degenerative joint diseases like osteoarthritis.

A full commitment to the recovery process is therefore crucial, as it directly impacts one's future capabilities in sports. "Understanding and responding to your body's warning signs is important," says Dr Mok Ying Ren, Associate Consultant, Division of Sports Medicine & Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National University Hospital. "There's a saying in Mandarin that 'proper rest is a precursor to going the distance' - rushing the process can be counterproductive."

The NUH Sports Centre provides care to those recovering from sports injuries, with services ranging from physiotherapy and dietetics to imaging and acupuncture, all backed by a multi-disciplinary team. Here, patients can expect a tailored approach to treatment and rehabilitation, designed to facilitate a safe and effective return to physical activity.

How to go the extra mile

Preparing for an intensive challenge like a marathon requires a strategic and informed approach. After all, the foundation of a marathon is built upon incremental training, which enables the body to adapt to increasing demands.

Central to this preparation is maintaining a balanced diet, ensuring adequate hydration and following a well-structured training regimen that progressively builds endurance. Equally crucial is rest, providing the body with the necessary time for repair and conditioning. Adopting the correct, positive mindset is also key in this journey.

For those gearing up for the demands of a marathon, watch these videos for valuable preparation advice from Dr Mok, who is also a double Southeast Asian Games gold medallist in triathlon and marathon.

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