So you have decided to get into some sports, GOOD ON YOU!!! First of all give yourself a pat on the back!!! But remember that sports can lead to injuries and as a beginner (or someone who has been off the field or track for a little while) that you are more susceptible to injury then the other people in your team.

Most sports injuries are preventable, and are commonly caused by overuse or misuse of a muscle or joint. This can not only lead to an injury in the short term but can have long term effects also, we have all heard stories about people at the gym not lifting the weights right, and although they got big muscles they stuffed up the back.

You don't want your new sporting career to end prematurely because of an injury, so here are a few tips that will help you avoid injury.

Warm up and cool down – those football players are not on the sidelines on a spin bike for nothing. Make sure you warm up before you start any exercise but having a really good stretch of all muscle groups. Your muscles perform best when "warm," so make sure you have a 5-10 min warm up (stretch or a slow jog) to get your muscles warm and ready, and avoid unpleasant strains and tears. Do the same when you finish your game to make sure your muscles loosen up and get relaxed.

Don't play if you are injured – we have all heard the story of the guy who played the rest of the game with a broken wrist, what we don't hear is that because he did that he may well have lost some of the normal usage because he aggravated the injury. Doesn't sound so awesome does it? This tip doesn't need much clarification, if you are injured, DON'T PLAY! See a doctor and follow his/her advice on how long until you should be back on the field, even take it a step further and see the doctor just before to make sure you are ready. You might be able to play on it, but it might sideline you in the long run.

Wear the correct protective gear – did you know that a football or rugby tackle can have the same force (maybe even more) than getting hit by a car? You can shake it off if you are really fit (let's face facts here, you are reading this because you are getting into sport so chances are you are not quite that fit yet) but remember that you brain is floating around in liquid in your skull, when your head comes to a sudden stop your brain hits against the front of your skull because of the forward motion, so you want to be wearing some head gear to soften the blow. There is not much more that needs to be said, protective gear is called protective gear for a reason.

Rest – make sure you are resting yourself sufficiently after a game. Your muscles need time to relax and repair themselves after vigorous use, so if you have a day of sport or go for a long run, take a rest day after and avoid injury. You may just be starting out and by really hyped to play as much as you can, but remember that your body has to rest too. If you over train you will run the risk of injury, it's not always the case of "the more you train the better you will play."

These are a few tips that you can use to avoid injury, but remember to keep your wits about you on the field too, if not you might not notice the 120kg guy running straight at you, and, well I don't need to tell you how that could end…..