Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Did you know that flexibility is an entirely trainable quality?
Sure, we get a little more inflexible over the years (a process called fibrosis, where thick connective tissue takes the place of some of our more pliable fibers that are getting worn out), but it doesn't prevent us from staying flexible. In fact, the most common reason for inflexibility is not age, or genetics, or gender, but DISUSE. It's exactly because we DON'T stretch that we become so stiff.
No, I'm not going to tell you that to be flexible you absolutely have to start doing yoga, although you might really enjoy the practice. But it's been shown in studies that including a stretching program twice a week for five weeks can improve your flexibility over time.
You can elect to do a dynamic stretching program--ask any of us for some Burdenko moves, for instance--where you move through the stretches. Dynamic stretches are great for athletes who are getting ready for practice or competition, as they mimic the exercise movements they'll perform during their game and really get the body thinking about what it's about to encounter.
You can also do static stretching, where you slowly make your way into the stretch and then hold the end position for 30 seconds or so. The key is to find a point in the stretch that's just a little uncomfortable, but doesn't hurt--and where you definitely aren't shaking. You trigger your stretch reflex when you stretch TOO far, which can actually make you TIGHTER (it's a defense mechanism for your muscles, to avoid being ripped by being stretched too far). Also, avoid bouncing into the stretch--while this (known as ballistic stretching) isn't technically as bad for you as previously thought when done correctly, the risk for injury is much higher, and really not worth the "reward" when static and dynamic stretching offer better options.
|Example of Static Stretching|
One of the key things to remember is to warm up before you stretch. Warming up is important in ANY of your activities, as it gets you ready for your workout by increasing your body temperature, getting the blood to flow through your body a little more, and improves viscosity in your joints (in other words, gets the synovial fluids that keep your joints lubricated to move better so your joints move better--more like oil than maple syrup), among a number of other things. A general warm-up for five to ten minutes is perfect--a quick walk on the treadmill (or around the block, or at the beach), a few minutes on a bike--just enough to break a sweat.Then, you can go through and do a number of stretches as an "active recovery" day, or you can continue on with your workout and stretch for 5-10 minutes afterward.
Blog post by Ashley Crosby.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Just because you are taking a day off from the gym, doesn't mean you should take a day off from being active!
Giving your body a break between intense workouts is essential to help your muscles recover, avoid overtraining and reduce the risk of injury but don't make the mistake of thinking your days off can be spent sitting on the couch all day watching trashy TV—which can be a very tempting option.
Your rest day should be spent doing some sort of light physical activity that will stimulate recovery without placing any undue stress on your body. Summer is just around the corner and as the weather is starting to warm up, make the most of your days off. Go outside, get moving, and have fun.
Take a bike ride along the canal, a walk on the beach, or explore one of the many nature trails the
has to offer. Organize a pick up game of softball going with friends and
family, just as long as the intensity stays relatively low and you don't get
too competitive! Paddle boarding, kayaking, yoga, golf, hiking, swimming, doing
a light body weight workout or easy jog...the list is endless.
As long as you stay active, you will feel better and maximize the progress you are making in the gym!
Blog post by Catie Furbush CSCS.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Do you warm up before playing golf?
A good warm up is important for preventing injuries and preparing your body to perform. Next time you head out to the course, try these sport-specific, dynamic stretches. Warm up by walking for 3-5 minutes. Perform 10 repetitions of each exercise. Gradually move through greater range of motion. Do not perform any exercise that causes or increases pain.
Hold your golf club in one hand and extend your arm to the side. Pass the club over your head to the other hand. Extend the other arm. Follow the exchange with your head.
Hold your golf club in both hands over your head. Bend to one side. Return to original position. Bend to the other side.
Stand with your golf clubs behind your back in both hands with your arms shoulder width apart. Bend forward and lift your arms over your back.
Around the Body
Hold your golf club in both hands as wide as possible. Rotate the club around your head clockwise. Repeat counterclockwise.
Hold the club upside down with the grip end planted firmly on the ground. Stabilize your upper body and rotate your hips. (Remember: We want rotary motion, not lateral!)
Squat and Twist
Hold your golf club in both hands and extend your arms straight in front of your body. Squat and turn your hands so that your right hand is on top and left hand is on bottom. Return to standing. Repeat with the left hand on top.
Golf Swing Twist
Hold your golf club in both hands and extend your arms straight in front of your body. Continue to hold the club in front of you and twist your body side to side as if your lower body was going through the golf swing.
Step and Turn
Place your golf club on your shoulders, holding onto it with both hands. Step forward with your left leg into a lunge and rotate your upper body to the left. Return to the starting position. Repeat to the other side.
Leg Swings (2 Directions)
Hold the club upside down with the grip end planted firmly on the ground. Stand on your left leg and swing your right leg front and back. Repeat on the other leg. Then perform the same exercise swinging your leg left to right, crossing in front of your stabilizing leg. Repeat on the other leg.
Blog post by Jen Skiba.