Fit for Life
A strong, flexible body makes everything in your life better, from running a 10km and starting a business to catching her eye. But if youíre working out the same old way, youíve got to change.
Youíve been using the same workout for 20 years. The result? Two arthritic shoulders and a sacroiliac joint that threatens to immobilize you every time you get out the car. But itís not too late for you.
Tips for Enhancing Performance
Pounding the pavements erodes your bodyís natural shock absorbers Ė cartilage, tendons, muscles and ligaments. Each step exerts a force of up to five times your weight and encourages these body parts to protest through inflammation, pain and even rupture.
Walk as well as run. Varying intensity within a workout is a tactic runners use to get faster or go longer. Walking burns the same number of kilojoules as running and reduces common overuse injuries, such as shin splints. Use a one-to-one ratio if youíre getting into shape after a layoff, then gradually ratchet up the run portion. Walk one kilometer for every six kilometers you run.
These events are filled with former distance runners looking for a new rush and a way to take some strain off their battered bones. Triathlon training also allows a marathoner to use health benefits gained from years of long distance training; increased lung capacity and an abundance of slow twitch muscle fibers, which enhance aerobic endurance.
The sudden starts and stops involved in touch rugby place tremendous lateral force on your ankles and knees, and the diving (actually landing) sends injury causing shock waves throughout your body.
Break a sweat before you start playing. One guy we know hits the hot showers for 10 minutes before playing to make sure heís warm. No showers? This simple 10 minute warm up will drastically reduce your chances of getting hurt. Do each of these the length of the field up to the half way line and back while wind milling your arms, then stretch as usual; jog, skip, shuffle (continually slide one leg to meet the other without crossing them; donít forget to bend your knees), karaoke (run sideways, continually crossing one leg in front of and then behind the other), run backwards and skip as high as you can.
This activity incorporates the same lateral movement and quick jumping ability youíve developed, but it doesnít require you to cover as much ground.
Playing cricket does little to improve your overall fitness so you have to put in time away from the pitch if you want to avoid rotator cuff tears and elbow or shoulder tendonosis.
Lift weights. It will strengthen your rotator cuff and surrounding muscles to protect you from suffering a tear. The best moves are; lateral raise, lat pull downs and lat rows. Stretch your shoulders before the first over by raising your throwing arm straight above your head, bending it at the elbow, then gently pushing it down and toward your spine with your other hand. Repeat with the opposite arm.
Golf is easier on your body because you donít have the sudden starts and stops, and the swing arenít as violent. Since the ball isnít moving, you donít have to reach at odd angles to hit it, which can cause muscle strains. Golf is also better for your heart and gobbles up plenty of kilojoules.
Because swimming is non weight bearing, injuries are few. When swimmers do get hurt, they tend to suffer from overuse injuries in their shoulders and knees. Have a coach analyze your stroke each year for glitches so you donít fall into injury inducing bad habits. Mix breaststroke, backstroke or butterfly in with your freestyle every fourth lap to reduce your risk of hurting a shoulder joint. Strength training is important for swimmers to help balance their musculature and to strengthen bones and tendons that donít get trained in the pool. The most important lifts; bench press for balance and squats for push off and kicking.
Single Scull Rowing
Single scull rowing will capitalize on the endurance and pain tolerance youíve built while still allowing you to compete mano-a-mano on the water using your arms and legs to pull you through.
Crashes cause most injuries Ė damn drivers Ė but repeating the same motion again and again and again while sitting hunched over the handlebar also puts stress on the vertebrae in your lower back, which causes pain.
Simply changing the angle of your bike seat could save your back. Back pain in cyclists is caused when the angle between the pelvis and the lower end of the spinal column is overextended. Tilting the seat forward 10 to 15 degrees reduces the strain on the muscles and realigns the bones. Most important; spin, donít strain, by using higher gears. Lower gears can make you feel like youíre working much harder, but a faster cadence is easier on your body and more efficient.
Youíve spent years building endurance and Lance-like quads. Now use them on the field, where both qualities will give you a leg up on the competition, and the wide variety of movements youíll deploy will round out your fitness. Youíll also play on grass, which is heaven for joints and muscles.
Nearly half of all tennis players suffer from Ďtennis elbowí (medial epicondylitis). Lower back strains and shoulder and ankle injuries are common. Playing a lot of tennis weakens your shoulder blade muscles by repeatedly stretching and fatiguing the tissues.
Tennis is a terrific lifelong sport Ė if you keep your strength and flexibility by doing strength training and stretching. To get the great workout without the elbow or shoulder problems, do military presses. While sitting on a bench or chair, raise a pair of dumbbells to shoulder height. Press the weights overhead. Do 10 to 12 repetitions. Repeat.
Martial arts, such as tae kwon do or kickboxing, enhance the abilities youíve developed in tennis, while adding the missing factor of flexibility. You can also take out your aggression on a real person while eliminating the repetitive motion that causes injuries in tennis.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at http://bodybuild.rr.nu