NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Since the weather has finally warmed up enough to allow for spring sports like tennis, baseball and golf, it’s important to remember that safety should always be factored into our leisure activities. This list of springtime sports and their most common attendant injuries is definitely worth looking at before brushing the dust off those rackets, bats and clubs.

Tennis

Tennis is great aerobic exercise that burns fat, develops muscle and helps lower blood pressure. However, it’s important to recognize the potential problems that can occur when partaking in this physically demanding sport. Since playing tennis requires regular and aggressive use of the muscles and tendons connecting the shoulder and the arm, many tennis neophytes suffer rotator cuff injuries as they get into the swing of things. As such, it’s a good idea to do some mild weight training before stepping onto the tennis court.

Golf

For those wanting to lose those love handles or some stubborn belly fat, engaging in regular games of golf is a smart choice. To play a full 18 holes of golf on a regulation course, a player must walk around three to four miles. Additionally, decent muscle tone can be developed by eschewing a caddy and lugging a bag of clubs across the field. Unfortunately, a lot of novice golfers suffer lower back pain due to not having the core strength to deal with all the bending and twisting. Performing a range of pre-game stretches can keep the body loose and ready for physical exertion.

Baseball

Baseball is America’s game for a reason. There’s just nothing like getting out on a baseball diamond to try to knock out a few homers and racing across the field to make an inning-clenching catch. While the old ball game is physically beneficial because of the running involved and the upper body strengthening practice of smacking a dusty Rawlings ball as hard as humanly possible, there are some health risks to consider. Spending extending periods in the sun can lead to burnt skin as well as long-term effects like melanoma. Also, the repetitive motions involved with swinging a bat can lead to the joint inflammation called lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow. Doing some conditioning exercises and obeying proper catching and throwing techniques are recommended steps in preventing tennis elbow.

Running

One of the world’s oldest and accessible sports, running is especially popular in the spring because of the mildness of the weather. There’s something invigorating about dashing through the streets or on a track when nature is in full bloom that gets the endorphins pumping. Since time immemorial, running has been recognized as an effective way of losing weight, building endurance, and increasing cardiovascular health. With that in mind, it’s also important to remember that those new to the sport run the risk of developing planar fasciitis, also known as joggers’ heel. The painful disorder affects those who have been running a little too hard or a little too long. Properly stretching before a run, adopting a healthy stride and wearing the appropriate footwear are key to making running a fun and safe activity.

Lacrosse

As one of the oldest American sports, lacrosse has quickly evolved into one of the most popular sports in the entire country; especially amongst those in their teens and early 20s. First introduced to the world by the Native American Indians in the early 1600s, “Cherokee Ball-Play,” as it was first referenced by James Mooney in the American Anthropologist, is a game that involves impeccable hand-eye coordination, foot skills and toughness. But with all great sports comes the risk of injury, and lacrosse is no different. High ankle and knee ligament sprains, sustained while cutting and dodging, are some of the most common injuries in both girls and boys lacrosse. These injuries make up 21 percent (girls) and 16 percent (boys) of all reported injuries in the sport. One way in which one can avoid these injuries is by staying in shape all year round. By participating in programs like plyometrics, neuromuscular training, conditioning, and strength training, one can maintain muscle sustainability and continue to build more and more muscle mass for the future.

Mario McKellop is a freelance writer who has covered the pop culture beat since 2010.

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