Pickleball is a great way to increase your heart rate and physical activity. It combines running, jumping, stretching and coordination, but unfortunately, the daily wear and tear of our joints can lead to injuries. Softball players must pay close attention to the care and protection of joints.
For your lower body, the game involves a lot of stops and starts-spinning, jumping, sprinting, stopping and sprinting. In order to do this, your knees must bend and stretch, while your hips and ankles roll and twist to facilitate movement. If your hips tighten or your ankles weaken, your knee joint will be in a vulnerable position.
On the other hand, your upper body joints are performing repeated, high-impact impacts, which make your shoulders, elbows, and wrists easy to strain and tear.
Maintaining healthy joints is no longer the prerogative of the elderly. Both young and old people now need to take measures to protect their joints in order to keep them strong, flexible and healthy for their best function.
What happens to our joints as we age?
There are different types of joints in our body, but they all work on the same principle-they connect our bones to each other, allowing us to move, lift, bend and stretch. Each joint is composed of ligaments or connective tissue and cartilage, which provide cushioning between the joints and prevent the bones from rubbing against each other.
Degeneration of our joints is caused by many factors, including:
Age-As we age, cartilage wears down and becomes thinner. It changes from smooth to cracked, so it is more prone to damage.
Past injuries and inflammations-any past injuries, even minor, will lead to future joint conditions in later life, because they will cause low levels of inflammation, thereby changing the actual biomechanical structure of cartilage. In the long run, this will destroy the cartilage in the injured area.
Loss of muscle mass-As you age, your muscles will naturally lose mass. When this happens, the joint assumes the responsibility of absorbing the daily shocks, which may get worse.
Overweight-The heavier you are, the more weight the joints bear. In the long run, this can be extremely detrimental to cartilage, especially in areas such as knees and ankles.
Overuse of joints-Overuse of specific joints due to occupation or sports. For example, playing pickle ball often can lead to overuse of the elbow joint and lead to "tennis elbow", which marks the beginning of the deterioration of the joint.
How to take care of your joints:
Warm-up-Before starting the game, do some simple warm-up exercises, such as stretching, jogging or core exercises, to prepare your body for the game. Warming up for about 5 to 10 minutes before the game can increase blood circulation and muscle temperature. This provides more oxygen to key muscles and joint tissues and helps them contract and relax faster, thereby helping to prevent muscle tears.
Wear proper shoes-never play kimchi balls in running shoes. They are very unsuitable for kimchi balls because they are designed for sagittal motion, not for left and right plane motions. Instead, wear a pair of court shoes that fit your feet. This kind of shoe allows a lot of rapid side-to-side movement and variable movements, which are common in pickleballs.
Learn how to cope well with a fall and bend your knees-players usually back up when they want to throw the ball. But reselling can be dangerous, especially if you are not an experienced Peak player. You may lose your footing and fall seriously. A better way to play high is to chase the ball away from your opponent. Most of the debilitating injuries in kimchi balls occur when you fall. Therefore, it is recommended to learn how to fall wisely without hurting yourself. The best way to combat the effects of a fall is to roll on the ground and do not try to break or stop the fall with your extended arms. This can cause your wrist to fracture and cause other serious injuries. Avoid bending your back or waist when playing kimchi balls. Learn to bend your knees and coil and unfold your upper body. Bending forward from the waist puts a lot of pressure on the spine and back muscles. This can cause long-term back injuries. Train yourself to bend your knees and keep your back relaxed.
Maintain a healthy weight-By maintaining a healthy and reasonable weight, you will reduce the load on your joints and reduce further cartilage wear.
Include a series of exercises-exercise should include a series of different activities. You can combine low-intensity training such as swimming or walking with strength training (weightlifting) and stretching exercises such as yoga or Pilates to achieve consistent results. All of this will help reduce the stiffness of the joint and twist or at least delay further damage.
Movement and posture-try not to stay in a posture for too long. Stretch regularly to release tension in the joints and prevent them from hardening. Maintain a good posture. When standing, keep your legs hip-width apart and your shoulders leaning back. When sitting down, keep your feet, knees and hips at a 90-degree angle.
Relaxation-Relieve stress through relaxation methods such as meditation and deep breathing. It turns out that a stress-free mind also has a positive effect on a person’s overall health.
Eat wisely-Studies have shown that eating oily fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and tuna, can reduce painful joint inflammation. Vitamin D can also protect your joints, so make sure you consume at least 400 to 800 units of vitamin D per day. Your body also needs a balanced diet, including a variety of fruits and vegetables, meat and/or fish, dairy products, and carbohydrates.
Once you take a proactive attitude towards your health, the result may make your joints healthier, leading to a better quality of life and better performance on the court.