Advice for sporting activity

  • Pre Exercise
  • Active Recovery
  • Hydration
  • Footwear

If you participate in any kind of physical or sporting activity you will be aware of the need to prepare yourself before exertion and also to look after yourself afterwards but what exactly are the best ways to do this? The following is some free advice from us at TheSportsOsteo designed to ensure you get the most out of your activity in both enjoyment and performance.

Pre Exercise

Warm-up exercises are designed to prepare the body for activity. They help to prevent injury and enhance performance. A muscle can only work at its maximum when all its blood vessels are open and at rest most of these are closed. After just 10 minutes of exercise blood flow to a muscle can increase from 15% to 80%, raising temperature, improving coordination and aiding psychological preparation.

Progress your warm-ups:

Begin with large muscle group movement followed by smaller groups to focus blood distribution.



Stretching is essential:

Focus only on stretching muscles you will be using that feel tight. The most effective way is to assume the stretch position until you experience mild discomfort, then move slowly but continuously in and out of that position in a gentle manner until you feel the area loosen up.



Specialist exercises:

The last stage may include specific exercises, such throwing a ball, swinging a tennis racquet or golf club to practice specific movement and engage neuromuscular connections.



Duration:

10 to 30 minutes

Active Recovery

After strenuous physical activity cool-down exercises are recommended to allow the body to return to its former physiological state with the aim of minimising potential for injury.

It allows temperature and blood pressure to reduce, speeds up clearance of lactic acid, (a by-product of exercise) and reduces incidence of muscle soreness.

Movement:

Slow jogging is ideal or slow movement of main bodyparts exercised to allow gradual reduction in blood flow to muscles.



Stretch:

To get maximum benefit during the recovery process stretch all the muscles used for at least 20 seconds, holding the position without moving or bouncing, focusing on deep breathing to enhance each stretch.



Duration:

5 to 10 minutes

Hydration

Water constitutes 60% of the human body and is required for transportation of nutrients, elimination of waste and lubrication. Just a 2% reduction in body weight due to water loss will impair athletic performance. Also vital for regulating temperature adequate hydration is essential for achieving optimal performance.

Before exercise:

Water can be consumed at any time. Sports drinks should ideally be ingested 1 hour before to provide a usable energy source, however many have glucose solutions of less than 10% which means they can be consumed 15 minutes before exercise and still achieve fast absorption.



During exercise:

For activity of at least 60 minutes duration sports drinks can enhance performance if consumed at a rate of 150ml every 15 minutes. During shorter events, cool water is adequate.



After exercise:

Following moderate exercise cool water is the ideal way to rehydrate as drinks containing sugar can actually stimulate thirst. For more intense bouts of exercise a carbohydrate-containing sports drink will help restore electrolyte levels to aid recovery.

Footwear

Normal daily activities place considerable demands on our feet, which are required to support our entire bodyweight, absorb shock and distribute load during movement. During sporting activity these demands increase sharply yet despite their importance correct footwear is often overlooked.

Considering the ankle and feet are the areas that suffer the most fractures in sports, avoid unnecessary injury and follow these basic guidelines:

Choose the correct shoe for the purpose:

Indoor sports such as squash will require a different shoe to outdoor track events.



Get the right shoe for your foot shape:

All feet differ slightly in shape. Make sure your footwear is comfortable for your individual morphology.



Consider the surfaces involved for your activity:

Are you playing on Astroturf or natural grass?



Ensure the sole has sufficient layering:

To reduce friction, remain waterproof and protect against impact shock.