reduce pain after playing basketball

Ballers Over 30: Here’s How to Reduce Pain After Basketball

If you’re starting to ache from basketball, it’s probably because you’re getting old. So, here are some tips on how to reduce pain after basketball.

Getting old is inevitable. And as you get old, your body does too. As a result, you will start to feel more pain from activities that once didn’t hurt you.

This was a realization that hit me when I entered my early thirties.

I was playing basketball one day with some of my younger cousins (as we normally do a few times a year when we visit each other). And for whatever reason, I just felt old that day.

My cardio was off and I felt weak and slow. After the game, my whole body was in pain. I was aching all over.

And the next day…well, it was bad. I was sore and could barely move without wincing.

Okay, so maybe I’m over-exaggerating a lot here. But I really was in pain. My upper and lower body were sore and my lower back ached.

Man, I should’ve played more often (but I’ll talk more about this later).

7 Tips to Reduce Pain after Playing Basketball

I’m sure all of you older guys and gals have gone through or are going through this. And I’m also sure all of you are irritated by it. So, here are some tips for reducing the pain.

However, before we get to the tips, I want to say that these are just some of the things that have helped me. It may or may not help you.

So, take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Now that I got the disclaimer out of the way, let’s get to it:

Stretching and Foam Rolling

In an interview with Time, Kobe Bryant was asked what tips he would give basketball players. For one of them, he emphatically said, “stretch.”

Stretching and foam rolling are probably two of the best things you can do to reduce muscle soreness. It’ll keep your muscles flexible and get blood to flow to those areas.

Additionally, stretching and rolling are also effective healing methods that will help you get back on the court quicker.

So, stretch before you play, and foam roll and stretch after you play. If you’re unsure how, here’s my basketball stretching routine that you can use.

You can also try doing quick and short yoga flows, like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and David Robinson did, on off days or after you play basketball.

Being More Mobile

Similar to what stretching does, keeping mobile throughout the day will promote blood flow and help your muscles stay flexible.

This will reduce muscle pain after basketball and keep your muscles strong.

So, remember to move around throughout the day.

Don’t just sit in one spot the majority of the day because this will cause muscle tightness.

Lack of movement can also cause bad posture, which can lead to injuries when you play basketball.

One of the ways I’m preventing being stagnant throughout the day is by wearing a Fitbit.

With a Fitbit, you can set an activity alarm that’ll remind you to get up and move around every hour for a period of time.

I just set mine to remind me to reach a certain amount of steps every hour during my work time.

However, I don’t just get up and walk around.

I stretch and do light resistance exercises during this span of time. I find it to be more beneficial for me.

But you can do any activity that you please.

In addition to that, the Fitbit is also great for tracking your overall health. I especially like its sleep tracker.

If you’re interested, you can click here to grab one from Amazon.

(The link above is an affiliate link. What this means is that if you use it to buy anything on the site, I will get a small commission, at no extra cost to you.)

Developing Functional Strength

Developing functional strength will reduce pain after basketball because your body will be more used to physical stress.

It’ll be stronger and have more stamina, preventing it from being in shock as you play.

So, once or twice a week, do strength workouts. You can do calisthenics or weight training.

But remember, the goal is to build endurance and muscle stamina, not to build big muscles or to get super strong.

So, don’t go all crazy in the gym because this will burn energy that could have been used to play basketball.

Strengthening Your Hips

A lot of times, when you experience knee pain after playing basketball, it’s because your hips are weak.

The reason why is that weak hips will cause your knees to go (or bend) in directions that they shouldn’t.

They should, for the most part, only bend and point forwards (directly over your feet). If your knees bend and point inwards or outwards constantly, this will produce pain.

To prevent this from happening (or to fix it), you have to train and get your hips stronger.

The following video will show you how, as well as further explain why weak hips cause knee pain:

Wearing Good Footwear

Wearing a good pair of basketball sneakers with tons of support will do wonders for pain reduction.

When you wear a pair of sneakers with good cushioning, fit, and support, it will prevent muscle and joint pain because it absorbs a lot of the shock (or impact) that comes with running and jumping in basketball.

It can also prevent some injuries, like ankle sprains (if the fit and lockdown are good).

Additionally, a pair of good insoles can do the job, too.

Changing Your Play Style

Look, you may not want to, but changing how you play the game will reduce some of the pain.

It may be painful to your ego, but your body will thank you for playing more of an old-man style of basketball.

Thus, instead of playing explosively and relying on your athleticism, switch your game to a more skills-based one.

Learn to pace yourself and how to read your opponents.

Take more perimeter shots, pass more, and move without the ball more. Play a smarter, higher IQ game, like what LeBron James is doing in the latter years of his career.

Basically, just play more of a fundamental game (which you can learn more about here) and your body won’t ache as much the following day.

Playing Basketball Consistently

One of the best ways to reduce pain from playing basketball is to play more basketball consistently.

Yup. The more you play, the more your body will adapt to the stresses of the sport.

Thus, instead of playing once a month or every other month and whine about how much pain you’re in, play once a week.

Your body will get used to it and it won’t be shocked every time you play.

However, remember to take a break every now and then to recover.

Sometimes, forcing yourself to play more will cause more damage.

So listen to your body and rest when you feel like you need to.

Final Thoughts

Basketball is a brutal sport for your body.

So, I do these 7 things to alleviate some of the damage, reducing some of the pain associated with the sport.

Give them a try and see if they benefit you.