Get in Shape to Play Don’t Play to get into shape!

After a long winter, we are eager to return and take part in our favourite summer activities.

Longer days, warmer weather and more things to do are all positive aspects of Spring and some of the reasons why our activity levels tend to increase at this time of year. However, this enthusiasm sometimes impedes our memory and better judgment. For example, last year – jumping on the bike and going for a ride farther than you could make it back, or going out on the tennis court expecting to pick up right where you left off from the previous season.

Overdoing it when returning to activity is something we can all relate to and we have all had similar experiences. You don’t want your first day back to be anything but enjoyable and you definitely do not want it to end with an injury or several days of muscle/joint discomfort. Even if you stay active through the winter months with skiing, hockey, and snow shoveling, it does not necessarily provide sufficient preparation for another season with totally different movements.

Prior to entering your “IN season ” program which is usually focused on participating in your chosen activity, we should be committing to one of the most critical times; the “Pre Season”.  The Pre-Season is four to six weeks prior to the beginning of your activities season. This is when the focus is on specific exercises that will improve your conditioning and prepare your body for a strong “In Season”.

Here are some ways to prepare for some of the most popular summer activities:

  • Baseball: overall flexibility, upper body strength, rotational speed/power and rotator mobility
  • Soccer:  strength (upper and lower body), muscular endurance (lower body), speed and agility, cardiovascular endurance and overall flexibility
  • Golf: overall flexibility with a focus on shoulders, spinal mobility, legs,  lower body strength and balancing of opposing muscles
  • Water sport: upper and lower muscular endurance,  upper body strength, and overall flexibility
  • Cycling:  lower body strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance and overall flexibility
  • Tennis: speed, agility, full-body strength, cardiovascular endurance and overall flexibility.
  • Gardening: Fullbody strength, overall flexibility, lower body and upper body endurance
  • Rugby:  strength (upper and lower body), muscular endurance (lower body), speed and agility, cardiovascular endurance and overall flexibility

Just like any other workout you do, there should also be a pre-workout/post-workout regiment as well:

Pre Activity Prep

  • Is there enough fuel in your tank? Plan ahead and be sure your nutrition is in line with your fitness goals. If your goal is to have better endurance, then showing up to your workout on an empty stomach is going to be counter-productive because you will burn out in the middle of your workout.
  • Warm up-show up 10-15 minutes ahead of schedule and prepare yourself by doing a dynamic stretch, some light aerobic work, and preventative maintenance for past injuries or areas of weakness. Also, focus on dynamic movements that will prepare your body for the exercises you plan to do – ie spinal rotations for swinging sports
  • Check over your equipment and make those minor repairs. Safety first!

Post Activity Prep

  • Finish your activity by bringing your heart rate closer to a resting level and stretching again
  • Replenish fluids-it is very important to take water when exercising especially on hot days

Don’t overlook the importance of pre-season and the appropriate preparation for improved performance, from gardening to rugby. This is just a general outline of things you can do to prevent injury, get the most enjoyment and success from your activities.  It is well worth your while to prepare ahead of time instead of taking one step forward and two steps back after a mishap.

If you need help to prepare for your summer sport or activity then join our Spring Tune UP Program and have a Certified Performance Specialist guide you through a weekly pre-season prep.