Dr. Mike’s Cleveland Clinic sees plenty; so does Dr. Oz’s New York Presbyterian Hospital: emergency-room visits for sprains, broken bones, contusions and concussions following a traditional Thanksgiving Day pickup football game. So here are tips that will keep you in good shape, and won’t take a thing away from your day of fun.
Tip No. 1: Warm up. If you start off cold, you’ll pull a hamstring or a groin muscle, so jog around as you check the field for holes and drains, do jumping jacks or just jump up and down. Get your blood flowing and your muscles moving. Your body will thank you later.
Tip No. 2: Don’t play tackle football, and don’t wear cleats. You’re not on a school team with lots of good equipment (where are your helmet and pads?), and you’re no pro. Cleats get caught; knees get twisted; heads get bumped. Wear running or tennis shoes, and stick with two-hand touch.
Tip No. 3: Act your age. If your 18-year-old nephew runs by you, remember that you’re older and smarter. Don’t sprint backward to catch him; pass him off to someone his own age. Playing against your peers (your brother or college roommate)? Well, good luck. Did we mention mouth guards?
Tip No. 4: Don’t play with an injury; call it a day. Playing with or aggravating an injury will delay and prolong your recovery. It’ll also make the days following very painful, so let discretion be the better part of valor, and head home for a nice slice of pumpkin pie.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit sharecare.com.