In my last blog, Game Changer (Part 1) I discussed the benefits of good health and fitness through sports participation. I recommended starting with a pre-activity screening that includes a health history, medical evaluation, and postural assessment. In this blog, (Part 2) I’ll be covering the remaining components, flexibility, balance, and core stability exercises to help you complete your base of general fitness. Together with the previous base conditioning components that I discussed, these remaining components will set the foundation for success in your specific sport.
Flexibility is important in sports participation and can help enhance range of motion in the joints and promote soft tissue extensibility. Flexibility training can be done two to three days per week, preferably after the aerobic workout. Perform each stretching exercise four times and hold each stretch for about 15 to 30 seconds. Examples of stretching exercises include the side body stretch, body rotation, chest stretch, shoulder stretch, modified hurdler's stretch, adductor stretch, quad stretch, heel cord stretch, and knee to chest stretch.
A strong stable core gives you a base to move and to generate power. Without this stability it's hard to be agile and move fast in different directions. A strong core will help improve athletic performance, help reduce back pain, and along with corrective exercise will improve postural imbalances. Your balance will also improve thanks to the strong base. Working on these core stability drills will make your core (abs, oblique’s and lower back) stronger and healthier which means fewer injuries and lower back problems. Try the plank, side plank, bridge, opposite arm leg raise, push-ups, V-up, and Superman’s to get started!
Balance exercises can help by improving your ability to control and maintain your body's position, whether you are moving or still. Your ability to move efficiently requires control of the body's postural alignment and balanced muscles allow your body to function at a higher level. Athletic performance is greatly enhanced when we are able to build upon a strong core and increase a harmonious balanced state. Try simple balance with one leg up first; then increase the difficulty by adding unstable surfaces, and move and test your balance in different planes of motion. Focus on ankle, hip mobility, and rotation for increased performance.
In my next blog I’ll go into greater detail on corrective exercise; my first recommended base conditioning component covered in Part 1. Myles Dias, Master Trainer, Certified Senior Fitness Specialist