Here in Central Oregon fall brings on a readiness for sports like football and lacrosse as well as the preparation for the wide variety of beloved outdoor recreation activities. As temperatures start to cool down we tend to be outside a little less when not active. So how do we prepare our bodies for these changes in stresses? There are a few things we can do now to make sure we are prepped and ready for action in the coming months!
1. Progress slowly and listen to your body
When picking up the frequency of any activity the key is to progress slowly. The basics are simple. If you haven’t been mountain biking much in the summer and want to pick it up, as the trails get less dusty in the fall, then don’t start on the hardest trail or the longest ride. In general, try to follow the 10% rule. Try not to increase a total bout of an activity in a week by more than 10% from one week to the next. If your body is sore, allow rest. If there are sharp pains, un-relenting pains, or pain that becomes worse with more activity then a physical therapist can help find the cause of your pain.
2. Mobility and Preparation
With chillier temps heading our way, overall activity tends to dwindle and we find ourselves taking advantage of cozy afternoons on the couch. School starts and kids are spending more time sitting in the classroom as apposed to running around and riding bikes. Sitting puts us into a pitfall of issues. To combat sitting try to incorporate a daily anti-sit mobility program working on hip extension, thoracic (mid back) extension, and ankle range of motion. Additionally, it is rough on the body to sit then go quickly into an activity. Spending 5 minutes doing a brief warm up involving hip mobility, spine mobility, and ankle mobility will do wonders. Foam rolling and other tools such as lacrosse balls can be helpful but nothing beats actually mobilizing a joint.
3. Multi-planar Strength
Fall sports tend to be more multi-planar then summer sports. Meaning, fall sports involve more cutting, sideways movements, and change of direction. Training linear (forward) movements alone will put you at risk for future injury. When preparing for multi-direction sports you must train in multiple plans of movement. Specifically, do core, hip, and knee exercises involving sideways movements and rotational movements. You must prepare the body for the stresses to come.
4. When to Push Through Pain
When picking up the frequency on an activity pains and aches are inevitable. However, there are good and bad pains. Sore, achy, and throb like pains are typically muscle and fatigue related pain. Push through it. If the pain becomes local to one spot and increases with activity then do not push through it. If rest does not resolve the pain, then don’t push through it. Find a local physical therapist and get the pain fixed.
Bend if full of great activities from high school sports to the best outdoor adventures. Remember to take your time and remember to train appropriately, allowing for a longer, healthier, and more fun season. If you ever have any questions about how to prepare for a sport, how to recover, or have concerns about sport specific pain contact your local Rebound clinic our therapists are always here and happy to help.