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Preparing for sports activity

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

by Jerry Vance

Sports-specific exercises are the key to success in any type of athletic endeavor. There are two fields of sports preparation: preparation for the quick-decision sport that occurs most often in today’s lifestyle, and the “plan ahead” sport that has the regimentation of league or team play. Both types of sports activities can be prepared for ahead of time for maximum success and injury prevention.

A wide range of exercise patterns, done on a continuous basis, will prepare the athlete for any single day of sports activity. A day at the swimming pool or on the ski slopes is the type of activity that a maintained, well-exercised body can handle easily.

League or team play is a different story. Preparation for continuous sports practice and play requires more care because you are using specific muscle groups constantly. And each sport has a different type of exercise preparation. For example, if you are a runner, you need stretching for the calf muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps and lower back.

You also need strength exercise for the quadriceps, hamstrings and ankle dorsiflexors. Tennis and racquetball require stretching of the same groups of muscles, plus the psoas, chest, shoulder, side and shoulder muscles. Strengthening exercises for these sports should work the deltoids, forearm, abdomen, back extension and quadriceps.

Swimming requires stretching of the chest, shoulder and neck muscles, plus strengthening of the rhomboid, shoulder and triceps muscles. If you are getting your exercise with aerobic dance, you should concentrate on stretching the plantar fascia, calf, quadriceps, back extension, spine or trunk rotators, the side and shoulders. Strengthen the triceps, deltoid, external rotators, quadriceps, tensor fascia lata hip flexor and the gastrocnemius and soleus.

A bicyclist needs to strengthen quadriceps, hamstrings and gastrocnemius and soleus. Stretch the calf, illotibial band quadriceps, neck, lower back and hamstrings.

Large areas of the body are used in aerobic dance exercise, and exercise that is done to music need not include dance. It can be well rounded to cover an extremely large part of the body encompassing many muscle groups.

Regardless of which sport you consider or whether you do it on the spur of the moment or compete in league play, you will definitely benefit by building and maintaining your body before you start then continuing throughout your activity.

Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Senior Center.