By athletes for athletes

Young athletes on the Zurich vitaparcours

By athletes for athletes

There's nothing like getting out and about: In the warmer months, outdoor sports can really become fun again. By being smart with your training, you can reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries. Two top Zurich athletes share their best tips.

According to the LAI statistics for 2023, one in three leisure accidents occurs during sport and play, and for men, sport is in fact the most common cause of accidents. Ball sports, such as football, tennis and volleyball, as well as winter sports are particularly likely to cause accidents, but the figures are also rising slightly for mountain sports too. The most common injuries are dislocations, sprains and strains. 

Elite athletes in particular need to protect themselves against accidents, because injuries often result in breaks in training and can even ruin an entire season. Sports professionals therefore attach great importance to accident prevention. 

Zurich Switzerland is an attractive employer for active and former top athletes, two of whom share their most important tips for prevention. These are equally valid for people who only do sports now and again: 

Figure skater
Laura Rudolph is Communications Manager at Zurich Switzerland. The 28-year-old used to train up to six times a week as a figure skater with EC Thun. Falls are part of everyday training on the ice, so it's all the more important to protect yourself against injury. 

Here are Laura's five prevention tips:

  1. No training without a warm-up 
    Never start training or a competition without warming up – muscles must always be warmed up and activated to protect them from injury. Gentle jogging, jumping rope or climbing stairs are good ways to start. For ice skating, stretching before training is also essential, for example with "airplane pose" or a deep lunge.  
  2. Strengthen your muscles 
    Do regular strength exercises to strengthen your muscles. In figure skating, the focus is on strong leg muscles, as these are a prerequisite for high jumps and endurance.  
  3. Listen to your body 
    Listen to your own body – and to the doctors: If you are not completely fit, it is better to skip training or only practice simple skating elements. Otherwise there is a risk of strains or even stress fractures.  
  4. Incorporate breaks 
    Training-free days are also important for elite athletes to allow the body and mind to recover and ensure that motivation and enjoyment are maintained in the long term.  
  5. Quality over quantity 
    If a training session is shorter, but extremely focused and successful, then it may be more beneficial than a longer training session where you don't concentrate very well. This also includes knowing when to stop: Injuries are particularly common if you carry on despite being exhausted. 
Antoine L'Hôte is completing a commercial sports apprenticeship at Zurich Switzerland and is a "pro triathlete in the making": The 18-year-old trains for 20 to 22 hours a week with the "3 Star Cats Wallisellen" and is a member of the Swiss junior national triathlon squad. His major goal for 2024: a top five finish at the Junior World Championships in Malaga. So it's hugely important that he doesn't injure himself during training. 

Here are Antoine's five prevention tips:

  1. Warm up with dynamic exercises 
    Warm up well before training, e.g. with a few dynamic exercises such as skipping.  
  2. Don't forget to eat 
    Eating before and after training is particularly important for endurance sports like triathlons to ensure you have enough energy. For me it's porridge or a piece of bread before training and a protein bar after training.  
  3. Strength exercises as protection 
    I protect myself preventively by doing strength exercises to make my muscles stronger and thus prevent muscle fiber tears or torn ligaments, for example. As a triathlete, I focus on my knees and Achilles tendons – for example with split squats, calf raises or "normal" squats with weights.  
  4. Massage for well-being 
    I go for a massage every week to prevent stiffness.  
  5. Always sleep well 
    I make sure that I get enough sleep – and that I get high-quality sleep. That's why I switch my cell phone to flight mode before going to bed so that I'm not disturbed by notifications. Why is sleep so important? Exercising while overtired makes it harder to concentrate, making falls more likely. 

And his bonus tip for anyone who wants to start exercising again after a long break: "I would recommend meeting up with a friend for training at the beginning so that you can motivate each other." 

With its various stations, Zurich vitaparcours offers ideal opportunities to work on strength, endurance and coordination. Here, ambitious athletes can build their strength for training, but it's also ideal for getting active again after a long break from sport. Training on a Zurich vitaparcours strengthens muscles, builds stamina and improves coordination. This is good for health and well-being, but also helps directly and indirectly to prevent accidents and injuries. 

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