Be inspired by the Olympics but be careful

Rio Olympics

Rio Olympics

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What better way to get inspired to get active than watching the world’s best athletes take centre stage at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The London 2012 Olympics not only gripped the nation with excitement but inspired us to get active with the number of people playing sport increasing dramatically. Of people asked in England, 52.2 per cent who already participated in sport and 74.3 per cent of who hadn’t participated in sport in the last 12 months said the London Olympics made them more interested in sport.

Getting active can reduce your risk of major illnesses, and research shows it can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

As much as this enthusiasm is supported and encouraged, local Cambridgeshire GPs want to remind budding news sports fanatics of some key pieces of health advice to help prevent unnecessary injuries. And, for those unfortunate enough to injure themselves, what is the right local NHS service to use.

Local GP Dr Amrit Takhar said: “It was fantastic to see how the last Olympics inspired so many people to get more active and we really hope Rio 2016 will reignite this passion.

“We know that being physically active either in sport or just moving more is one of the best things you can do to promote your health. It reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke as well helping to avoid chronic diseases like diabetes.

“However, there are simple steps you can take that will help you avoid any unwanted injury and ensure your new activity continues to be an enjoyable experience rather than a painful one.

“Whatever your chosen sport be sure to ease yourself into it slowly. Remember to start each activity with a gentle warm-up of at least five minutes, and when you’ve finished give yourself a few minutes to cool down by continuing your exercise gently followed by gently stretching.”

If you do find that you have misjudged your fitness and feel unwell, or injure yourself then it’s important to choose the right NHS service for your need.

Dr Takhar added: “For minor injuries such as sprains and strains you don’t usually need to see a doctor and can look after yourself at home or with advice from your local pharmacist. If symptoms persist, then you can call NHS 111 who will direct you to the appropriate NHS service for your illness or injury.

“If the injury is severe, such as a broken bone, dislocation or head injury with vomiting or blacking out, go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department as soon as possible.”

NHS 111 is open 24/7 every day of the year and can help with finding a nearby NHS service or signposting to the most appropriate medical help. NHS 111 can also direct to out of hour GP services.

Your local GP can advise on, and treat, a variety of problems. Residents are urged to phone their GP practice to find out what’s available to them before taking themselves to the emergency department. Many practices now offer telephone, face-to-face and online consultations.

There are also four minor illness and injury units in Cambridgeshire located in Peterborough, Ely, Wisbech and Doddington. Strains, sprains and most minor conditions can be treated here. Some offer X-rays too but check with the individual minor injury unit.

For more information and advice visit www.cambsandpeterboroughchoosewell.co.uk.