Jiu jitsu is an intense sport. Due to its intensity, the amount of calories a person can burn during a couple of hours of jiu jitsu is monumental. But a sport with such great benefits such as lowered cholesterol, increased circulation, greater muscle mass, and improved balance does come with one occasional setback: sports-related inflammation.
Sometimes it’s an old injury, other times it’s simply a matter of overexertion; but whatever the cause, sports-related inflammation can seriously alter your jiu jitsu game if left unchecked, and you’ll pay for it with joint pain.
HOW TO AVOID SPORTS-RELATED INFLAMMATION
Preventative care is always the first line of defense when it comes to your health. Jiu jitsu comes close to being called a medical miracle, but you can’t rely on jiu jitsu alone. Everything from your eating habits to how many hours of sleep you get a night will determine whether or not you’ll be in fighting shape.
I can’t stress the importance of nutrition enough. This is number one on the list to decreasing sports-related inflammation.
According to a Harvard nutrition study that was updated on November 2018, eating or drinking sugary foods, indulging in fried foods, too much alcohol, refined carbs, and consuming foods such as lard or margarine will only make matters worse. Red meat is also a high risk factor that can cause inflammation, and too much of these foods in your diet will become high risk factors that can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and other diseases linked to chronic inflammation.
Foods such as olive oil, fatty fish, dark leafy greens, nuts, tomatoes, and fresh fruits that are low in sugar and high in antioxidants (such as strawberries and blueberries) are perfect for keeping you lean and healthy. This is because they’re clean foods which have a high vitamin content and other anti-inflammatory properties.
(R.I.C.E.) REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, AND ELEVATION
If you’ve never heard of the acronym R.I.C.E., it stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation–the four things you should do when you’re injured to stave off inflammation.
By resting and taking a break from jiu jitsu, you give your body time to recover. You’ll also sit still more, which will inflame the affected area less. Pushing yourself past the point of recovery should never be your goal. Injuries happen, and there’s no reason to “push through” something that can only be solved with time and patience.
Ice is known to help both numb pain and reduce swelling, one of the reasons so many athletes who participate in professional sports take ice baths after practice. Careful though, ice can burn after a while, so never let it touch the skin directly. Apply it to the affected area regularly for twenty minutes, four to eight times a day.
Wrapping your injury in a sports wrap will compress it and lessen the swelling, while stabilizing the affected area. Jiu jitsu can take a heavy toll on joints such as fingers, elbows, and knees, and it’s common to see people get on the mat with a knee brace or their finger joints wrapped with sports tape as a preventative measure.
Make sure not to wrap your injury too tightly or you’ll risk cutting off your circulation.
Lastly, elevation reduces swelling by making it more difficult for blood to reach the injury. Elevate the injured area for two to three hours a day to help hasten your recovery.
Follow these steps, and you’ll be back on the mat, pain-free and ready to roll!