We all know the benefits of exercise and outdoor sports but to what extent and how does it benefit us at different stages in our lives. Let's take a quick peek:Older Adults
No one is too old to enjoy the benefits of regular physical activity. Of special interest to older adults is evidence that muscle-strengthening exercises can reduce the risk of falling and fracturing bones and can improve the ability to live independently.
ParentsParents can help their children maintain a physically active lifestyle by providing encouragement and opportunities for physical activity. Family events can include opportunities for everyone in the family to be active.
Regular physical activity improves strength, builds lean muscle, and decreases body fat. It can build stronger bones to last a lifetime.
Regular physical activity burns Calories and preserves lean muscle mass. It is a key component of any weight loss effort and is important for controlling weight.
People with High Blood Pressure
Regular physical activity helps lower blood pressure.
People Feeling Anxious, Depressed, or Moody
Regular physical activity improves mood, helps relieve depression, and increases feelings of well-being.
People with Arthritis
Regular physical activity can help control joint swelling and pain. Physical activity of the type and amount recommended for health has not been shown to cause arthritis.
People with Disabilities
Regular physical activity can help people with chronic, disabling conditions improve their stamina and muscle strength and can improve psychological well-being and quality of life by increasing the ability to perform activities of daily life.
STRETCHING AND OTHER TREATMENT SOLUTIONS
Having worked with a number of athletes, young and old, the feedback I receive from them is that massage before an event allows them to perform at their maximum capacity. In the case of a couple of young swimmers I have worked with, they believe it helped by shaving time off of their events, allowing them to move forward to the next level. In top level competition seconds can make the difference of whether you make the cut to move on in your event.
Proper stretching may be all that you need. Your first step will be to find stretches that will address your areas of tightness. Some good resources for stretching include books on stretching and the Internet. The Internet has many great exercise sites that have stretching resources as well as You Tube, where the videos are sometimes easier to follow than a picture in a book. Once you have found the stretches, the next thing to do is to fit them into your schedule. Remember to do something to warm your muscles up before you stretch them. Doing some active joint mobilization (moving the arms/legs at the joints, etc), jogging in place, or even a hot shower will work. Then move into doing your stretches. There are different theories about how long to hold a stretch to achieve maximum length in the muscle. You may decide to perform the stretch once and hold it for 20 to 30 seconds; this is called a static stretch. Or you may prefer to do an active stretch where you move into the stretch, hold for two to three seconds, and then release the stretch, but perform the movement ten or fifteen times. And remember to ALWAYS stretch after a practice or a workout. Ideally, this is the best time since your muscles are very warm and respond well to the release a stretch offers. This can also cut down on the soreness you may experience after a good workout. You can also find excellent stretches on this website just by becoming a member.
If you find that stretching itself isn't enough, you may want to make an appointment with a massage therapist who specializes in sports massage, deep tissue work, also known as neuromuscular therapy and myofascial therapy and/or some kind of Repetitive Use Injury Therapy. Sometimes a session with a professional who will work out the tightness and adhesions in the muscles will be just what you need to get your own stretching routine started. For your sports performance and the health of your muscles, make sure you put as much time into your flexibility routine as you do into perfecting your sport.
If you're training for a specific sport, your chiropractor can be a valued partner in your fitness. He or she can help you evaluate your body and the stresses that your sport places on it. The chiropractor can also alert you to the possibility of overuse injuries and symptoms of other serious injuries before they cause permanent damage to muscles, ligaments, and joints. To play your best, you'll want your spine, joints, and muscles to be in proper alignment, so you may need chiropractic adjustments to relieve pressure and realign any partial dislocations. The doctor will also be able to evaluate your diet and suggest vitamins or dietary supplements to nourish and repair your muscles after training sessions. He or she may even suggest additional exercises or stretches to help balance your muscles and prevent over training. Your chiropractor can treat minor injuries with heat and ice therapies, or electric stimulation. You may want to find a chiropractor that specializes in sports medicine, as he or she may have more specific knowledge of the body's response to certain sports and activities. A chiropractor can also counsel you on training strategies that best suit your body. Before taking up a new sport, it's a good idea to talk to your chiropractor about your current physical condition, especially if you've injured your back or other joints.