Protective gear is important for any sports or physical activity, especially outdoor ones. Due to the nature of sports and activities like football, basketball, MMA, running, and more, there's always the chance a person could injure themselves. If you're new to sports and outdoor activities, there are four particular pieces of protective gear you should own no matter what sport or activity you do to reduce the odds of injuring yourself.
The effectiveness of these gears is universally proven, so owning them will prevent the most common types of injuries to different parts of the body. Below is a rundown of the four most essential gears that every athlete should own to ensure optimum protection.
Sports Requiring Protection
In most regulated sports events, protective gears aren't optional. While there aren't any legislative statutes that mandate protective gear when playing sports or doing outdoor activities, most athletic bodies and organizations have rules that are as good as law since most public sporting or athletic events are organized and monitored by them.
Some of the most common sports that require the use of protective gear include:
The Benefits of Protection
The biggest benefit of using protective gear is that it protects the most vulnerable parts of your body from joint injuries. Repeated stressful motions make the knee, elbow, and shoulder joints vulnerable to both internal and external damage. Even if you end up getting injured, these gears stabilize the injured and incurring further secondary injuries.
Aside from joints, protective gear for the head and face protect your eyes and skull, which can easily injure even with low-impact injuries. Protective gears like goggles and sports glasses ensure that no external objects, solid or liquid, make their way into your eyes. The only minor disadvantage of using protective gear is reduced skin perspiration, leading to itching and discomfort in the injured area.
Types of Protective Gear
With the basics out of the way, here's a rundown of the most essential protective gears that every athlete should own.
Sports eyewear can come in several forms—prescription glasses, sunglasses, goggles, or eye masks. Depending on the physical contact of the sport, it might be wise or required to wear an eye mask for protection against balls, sticks, or other people. Whereas for water sports, goggles are a necessity.
For non-confrontational sports, like golf, sports glasses and sunglasses are an option. These are typically made from polycarbonate, which is durable and impact-resistant with full UV protection. They're also handy in outdoor activities like cycling, hiking, and running as they protect your eyes from dust. For those who cannot wear contacts, many sports glasses can be made to fit your prescription.
If your sport requires fast movements and running, like track or baseball, it may be wise to wear a strap to keep your glasses from falling off your face.
Helmets are essential for protecting your skull from any impact. The human skull is quite fragile compared to other bones in the human body and houses the brain. Any skull injury can result in a wide range of serious issues, starting from internal bleeding to brain injuries resulting in cognitive, eyesight, and memory issues.
Bike riders, skateboarders, hockey, football, baseball, and snowboarding are all sports that require helmet-wearing. Good quality helmets are made from carbon fiber materials and come with good quality internal padding to soften the after-effects of the impact. Check here to learn more about what helmet is best for which sport.
Pads are a must if you're engaged in high-stress sports that demand a lot of repetitive physical movements. Starting from simple activities like running and cycling to full-fledged sports like martial arts, baseball and basketball, protective pads are the only thing that prevents athletes from receiving repeated joint and ligament injuries.
In other sports, like soccer, shinguards are required all the way up to the professional leagues, to prevent significant injuries from taking a kick to the shin. Football and hockey players also wear pads for similar reasons.
Good quality shoulder pads have good elasticity and don't weigh too much. Weight is an important factor as heavier protective pads can make the body parts they're protecting more susceptible to injuries.
Last but not least, don't forget to get a mouth guard as well. While not used as commonly as the other ones above, these guards are essential for preventing your teeth from being knocked out.
A good quality mouthguard should fit in your mouth quite easily and shouldn't be giving you issues when you're trying to talk. Few sports require mouthguards though they are recommended for many.
Gear Up Properly
No matter what kind of sports or outdoor activities you pursue, using the proper safety gear will ensure your hobbies don't end up costing you dearly. Injuries and accidents might happen anytime, so it pays to ensure your safety than be sorry later on. So make sure you have and use the above-mention protective gear every time you head out outside.