Originally posted - March 23rd, 2016
Choosing to engage in any sport or physically active hobby comes with inherent risk of strain, illness and potential injury. If not treated properly, injuries can become long-term and affect your performance in many areas of life for a very long time. To this end, injury prevention is a critical part of your training and workout routine. A gym should never force any student to continue to train past a serious injury; this is a good measure of quality if a training facility has safeguards in place to prevent and treat existing injuries. For instance, many professional MMA athletes are forced to retire early because of lingering injury and the potential that it could inhibit their future careers. As the sport evolves, it is a hope that injuries become less commonplace as training habits and injury awareness continue to progress.
Injury prevention can be encouraged by using the appropriate workout gear; do not cheap out on inferior product or you could end up regretting it. Make sure that you do not push your limits to the point where you know you are going to cause an injury down the road; this also goes for your teammates who need to be aware if they are pushing you too far. Keep rested before and after your workouts as an extra precaution if you feel that you are too sore after a class. One of the more important things to consider when it comes to injury prevention is your technical ability and how you train with others around you. Not knowing the proper technique or trying to rush when you're training with a sparring partner can end very badly for both parties involved. It also goes without saying that when you are in a situation where you have much more experience over your teammate, going 100% is probably not the best idea and you are going to get somebody hurt.
In an environment (training academy, gym, recreation centre) where many people are continuously touching the same objects, illness can also play a large factor when it comes to staying healthy as a martial artist. If you have any sort of contagious or viral infection, staying home from class doesn't mean you are not dedicated. Keeping clean and ensuring you are well groomed is essential; this is something that can be taken for granted, so remind yourself why it is important to take care of yourself before showing up to class. Outdoor objects such as shoes should never be worn in a training environment and a general sense of cleanliness should always be maintained in the immediate area. These recommendations for injury & illness prevention work very well within a martial arts framework, but can also be applied to other parts of life. Stay safe, keep clean, and train on!