How to Best Prepare for Your Favorite Spring/Summer Activities
While Spring in Iowa may be taking its sweet time to start this year, I know that I am looking forward to the warmer weather and getting outside more! While the weather is unpredictable, seasonal sports will always be here to stay and spring/summer sports are quickly approaching. Here in Iowa, some of the most common outdoor sports include: Running, Cycling, and Rec League Softball and Sand Volleyball.
However, another common theme in Iowa, as Spring approaches, is pain or injuries related to starting up too quickly with our outdoor activities that we didn't keep up with during the colder months. These pains and injuries are often times due to doing too much too soon or not properly preparing our bodies for these activities. In this month's blog, we will provide you with some simple exercises that apply to each of these activities that you can use to best prepare for your outdoor activities. At the end, you can use all 4 exercises as a solid warm-up routine for the outdoor activity of your choice.
A common complaint for many runners is knee pain; however, knee pain often does not stem from a problem related directly to the knee. It is usually caused by something going wrong at the joint above or below the problem area. In the case of the knee, that is the hip or the ankle. Today, we are going to address the ankle. When we run, our ankle needs to be able to flex in order to allow our knee to track properly during gait, specifically during the stance phase. In the video below, we show you an ankle mobilization drill that you can perform to help loosen up the calf and the ankle joint to allow for increased ankle mobility while running, which can help take stress off of the knee! Perform 20 reps each side before you head out on your next run.
While cycling, you are in seated position with a rounded back for an extended period of time. Overtime, this can cause mid back tightness or soreness. Because cycling occurs in a forward plane of motion, we often times tend of overlook the importance of hip mobility, which is important for creating force during the cycling motion. Hip mobility is also key for overall mobility and function for our lower extremity, so making it a priority in your cycling warm-up or recovery can help with your cycling performance. In this video, we demonstrate a pigeon + thoracic rotation stretch, which addresses both hip and mid back mobility to give you more bang for your buck. Give this exercise a try before or after or your next ride for 10 reps on each side.
Softball and Volleyball
Softball and volleyball are considered overhead sports and require both flexibility and stability of the shoulder joint. Our shoulder is a very complex joint with a lot of motion in multiple directions. If there is an imbalance in these different motions or a lack of stability in the shoulder joint, it can lead to shoulder pain or injury. In the 2 videos below, we will show you 2 exercises that work on both shoulder range of motion and stability. With these exercises, you will be moving your shoulder joint through different planes of motion in a slow and controlled manor, which helps increase stability and control through these motions. Increasing control helps improve how the joint functions, which decreases the chance for injury and can improve your throwing or hitting performance. Before you head out to your next rec league softball or sand volleyball game do each of these exercises for 5-8 reps.
Putting it All Together
While each of these exercises are designed with their specific sport or activity in mind and can be done on their own, combining all 4 of these exercises into a warm-up routine prior to any outdoor activity will be of a benefit. Warming up properly before your favorite outdoor sport/activity helps to ensure that you will not only perform at your best, but also reduce your risk of injury so you can stay in the game.
We hope that you have a great spring/summer sports season and enjoy time outside with friends/family doing the activities that you love. If you are dealing pain or an injury that is keeping you from your favorite activities, reach out to us today to schedule a Free Discovery Call to see how we can help! To schedule call/text 515-985-9038 or click the link: https://pteverywhere.com/PtE/enhancept/bookingonline