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Summer Health: Pain-Free Sports & Exercise

My three-part series on summer health will help you take the strain out of the most notorious of summer leisure activities – Gardening, Sports & Exercise and Holidays.

Consider the effects

During the summer months, sports and exercise hold much more appeal. Although sports can be played all year round, summer is the most popular time for embarking on a new fitness regime. You might be looking to tone up for the annual summer break, or slim down for a summer wedding – Whatever the reason, and regardless of the level or intensity, it’s important to consider the effect on your body.

Sports and exercise

Did you know that some of the world’s leading sports and fitness professionals visit chiropractors regularly to maintain a healthy body? Tiger Woods (Golf), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Bodybuilding) and many football and track stars receive chiropractic care.

Before you exercise or play sports

Warm up
Even top athletes warm up to loosen and prepare the muscles for exercise.

The cat stretch
Stand on all fours (like a cat). Sink your stomach and raise your bottom. Then push up through your back to arch. Drop your head. Repeat a further nine times.
Stretch your back out fully by sitting on your heels. Reach your arms out in front of you, flat on the floor. Hold this position for a count of ten.

Lower trunk stretch
Lie on your back with your arms out straight either side. Pull your heels up towards your bottom and drop your knees to the right (both knees together). Hold for the count of ten. Swing both knees to the other side. Hold for ten.

Hamstring stretch
Lie on your back and bend your right leg. Pull your left leg to your chest, keeping the knee bent. Hold for five seconds. Swap legs and repeat.

Extension: Full press up
Lie flat on your front. Position your hands (facing forwards) either side of your shoulders. Straighten your arms and up with your chest. Keep your legs straight and your tummy against the floor. Gently arch. Don’t strain.

Sit ups (Abdominal stretch)
Lie on your back and bend both knees. Fold your arms behind your head (elbows out). Keeping your bottom pressed to the floor, raise your head and chest. Try to keep your face parallel to the ceiling. Do two sets of five reps (five, then five).

Side stretch
Stand up straight and gently move your right shoulder down. Count ten as you move. Repeat for the left shoulder.

During exercise and playing sports:

  • Regardless of the activity, remain conscious of your movements.
  • Use the correct footwear and clothing.
  • Take regular breaks and stay hydrated.
  • If running or walking, land with your heel and press through to the toe.
  • If you have a stitch, slow your pace and breathe deeply to regulate the breathing again.
  • When jumping, land so that you bend in the knees, then rise.

 

After exercise and playing sports:

  • Spend at least fifteen minutes cooling and stretching out the muscles after exercising.
  • Lower the heart rate slowly and concentrate on your breathing.
  • If exercising regularly, increase your intake of protein to build and repair muscles.

I hope all of the above exercises and tips have been useful!

Enjoy a sensible summer, and if you do happen to experience any strain as a result of exercising, you can always give us a call at Optimal Chiropractic on 021 487 8465.

 

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