How to Prevent Injury

Warm up: the benefits

  • Raises the heart rate so body is prepared for physical exertion
  • Speeds up nerve impulses so that reflexes are enhanced
  • Reduces muscle tension
  • Sends oxygenated blood to the muscle groups
  • Reduces the risk of injury, particularly to connective tissue like tendons
  • Increases flexibility and joint mobility

Warm ups

  • Kayaking perform arm circles (clock ways and counter clock ways for 5 minutes). Stand, hips forward and rotate upper body to right and left, looking over alternate shoulders. When you get in the water, start at a slow and easy pace.
  • Cycling begin by cycling at a slow pace, leisurely pace and gradually increase speed for 10minutes
  • Running begin by walking a brisk pace. As your heart rate and breathing increase, pick up the speed – for about 10minutes.

While these warm ups may not be possible the day of the event they are a vital part of training.


  • After your warm-up stretch your muscles
  • Only stretch muscle to the point of mild discomfort, never into pain
  • Never bounce into a stretch. Hold the stretch for 20 – 30 seconds, 3 times.
  • Stretch opposing muscle groups one after the other (ie quadriceps stretch followed by a hamstring stretch)
  • Remember to keep breathing normally as you stretch.
  • Follow Motivate on Facebook for video clips of correct stretching methods

Cool-down: the benefits

  • Helps to gently return the heart rate and blood pressure to normal
  • Improves flexibility
  • Removes waste products from muscles (such as lactic acid) and helps to reduce the risk of soreness.

Cool-down suggestions

Your cool down should last several minutes Taper off your activity, i.e:- if you have been running, cool down by slowing down to a jog then a brisk walk for a few minutes. Finish your cool down routine with 10 minutes of gentle stretching

Other suggestions:

  • Ice-baths are an excellent way to prevent post training soreness (watch Motivate on Facebook to find out more re ice baths)
  • Use tape to brace vulnerable vulnerable joints (Motivate on Facebook for more)
  • Ensure you have enough rest and recovery days
  • Appropriate footwear / equipment
  • Dealing with all injury concerns ie. Twinges / niggles while training

Initial Injury Management:

  • Rest Once an injury has occurred, you should not try to exercise through it.
  • Ice The sooner you get ice to the area the better. Ice the affected area frequently (hourly) for 10minutes each time. Do not put ice directly onto the skin, use a wet towel if possible or put ice in a plastic bag when icing over tape/bandages etc.
  • Compression In order to prevent swelling compress the injury as soon as possible with bandages or tape. You can ice over this once you put the icepack in a plastic bag.
  • Elevation If it is an injury to a lower limb, keep your leg elevated, again to reduce swelling
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