Spring is upon us, and the season for team sports is about to begin. It is always energizing after a long Missoula winter to see the sun come out, the grass turn green, and the temperatures soar above 70 degrees.
This energy often translates to dragging our winter-worn bodies out onto the playing field for a casual game of softball, football, soccer, or rugby. These team sports, of course, are in addition to the numerous other outdoor pursuits we load into our busy afternoon and weekend schedules.
Our bodies are about to be tested. Hopefully you have successfully survived this year’s ski season injury free. Now it is time to do the same for spring and summer sports.
Here at Alpine, we are joining you out on the fields, trails, rivers, and roads, but we want to give you a few pointers to help you survive the early season injury-free.
1. Start now. Don’t wait for your first game. Get out for a light walk or jog. Over the coming weeks, build up your distance and throw a few short sprints or plyometric exercises (see below) into the mix. If you have any aches or pains take care of them now, before the season is in full gear.
2. Warm up. Always. All you need is 5 minutes of jogging with a few hops, skips, and/or jumps before the game. Follow that with 5-10 minutes of pre-game practice and you are ready to play.
3. Stretch. Following your warm up, and more importantly, after the game. Be sure to get your major leg muscles (quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, calves, and gluteals), and shoulders if you are on the softball or football field.
4. Drink water. Staying hydrated is of the utmost importance to prevent fatigue, muscle cramps, and to reduce the risk of strains and sprains. Women should drink 2.2 liters/day and men 3.0 liters if you aren’t exercising. Add 20-25 ounces per hour of exercise and you are in the clear. For those of you attending social gatherings after your game, drink water before alcohol.
5. Eat smart. A simply energy bar or any food source providing both complex carbohydrates and protein can help replenish your muscles thereby decreasing recovery time to get you ready for your next activity.
For more information on sport performance and injury prevention, visit our website by clicking here.