Now that you have decided to enjoy the benefits of good health and fitness through sports participation I recommend starting with a pre-activity screening that includes a health history, medical evaluation, and postural assessment. Once cleared for exercise start by building a base of general fitness that includes these health-related fitness components: corrective exercise, aerobic endurance, muscular (strength and endurance), flexibility, balance, and core stability exercises. Together these base conditioning components will set the foundation for success in your specific sport.
The National Academy of Sports Medicine defines corrective exercise as “the systematic process of
identifying a neuromuscular dysfunction, developing a plan of action, and implementing an integrated corrective strategy.” This may seem a bit technical but all it means is that over time, and often due to inactivity, injuries, or poor posture people begin using movement that leads to excessive and improper wear and tear on parts of the body. Seek out a fitness specialist who has expertise in corrective exercise someone who can re-teach the body how to move properly again. In a future blog, I’ll dedicate more for this base conditioning component.
For aerobic endurance select an activity that is enjoyable such as walking, jogging, cycling, step aerobics, or stair climbing. Training three to five times per week for a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of continuous activity is recommended. For adequate conditioning, training should be conducted between a "somewhat hard" and "hard" intensity level.
Strength (resistance) training helps maintain and increase muscular strength and endurance. Select 8 to 10 exercises that involve the major muscle groups of the body and train them two or three times per week on nonconsecutive days. Use a resistance (weight or intensity of training) that allows for 8 to 12 repetitions to near fatigue. The resistance will be heavy enough so that when a set of an exercise is performed you should not be able to do more than 12 repetitions at that weight. Begin the program slowly and start with one or two sets of each exercise. During the first two to three weeks of base conditioning, gradually increase up to three sets on each exercise.
In my next blog, Game Changer (Part 2) I’ll go into detail about each of the remaining components of my recommended base fitness conditioning program.