2/24/16

Mobility tips for athletes




Tips for improving mobility

1)      Make dynamic stretching part of your DAILY routine. Dedicate up to 15-20 minutes before every swim, bike and run workout to warming up your body, before you “warm-up” and an additional mobility session before bed (or after long periods of sitting).
This means before you jump into the pool, get on your bike or start a run, you need to perform dynamic stretching. Do not neglect this important habit of being a mobile athlete.

With our coaching, we are always looking for ways to help our athletes train smarter with the least amount of training stress possible. Improving mobility can help!
Dynamically stretching moves your body through different movement patterns to actively stimulate muscles, tendons, ligaments, fibers, tissues and joints.
You will also notice that dynamic warm-ups increases blood flow to the working muscles which gives you energy before you start working out. This will help you improve your range of motion, which will improve your power and speed. And, you'll find yourself more motivated to work out.

2) Do not go long hours sitting. There are several 
work break timers which remind you to stand up and move when you are at work. Consider sitting on a stability ball, standing every 60 min for 10 minutes, sitting less and standing more, walking around or doing yoga poses each hour while at work. When you sit, shoulders should be relaxed, arms close to sides, elbows bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor and your lower back should be supported.

3) Move your body. If you are only working out once a day, consider adding walking, riding your bike “for fun” or yoga to your daily routine. If you think about it, even if you work out for 2 hours a day, 92% of your day is likely spent sitting in a crunched, tight position.
Sadly, many athletes who engage in endurance training to become fitter actually become more sedentary because training becomes so exhausting that athletes actually sit more and move less than before they started training.
Regular movements are key to a healthy life, mind and body.

4) Stop the self-manipulating and visit a trained sport massage therapist. It’s very common that athletes will feel tight and with every niggle, will immediately resort to deep trigger point, foam rolling or excessive stretching. Many times, athletes increase inflammation and create more damage to already tight muscles.
By adding regular (1-3 times per month) massages into your training regime, you will find yourself more mobile when you train. A trained massage therapist can help you understand your body. However, he/she should not “spot” massage for more than 20 minutes as many times, your symptoms for pain/tightness are likely from a different source (ex. foot issues could be from tight calves). It’s best to get a massage before you need it and to stay up on massages at least 1-3 times per month. The best days to get a deep tissue massage are 24-48 hours after a hard workout. Allow up to 48 hours to recover from a massage and be sure to stay well hydrated.

5) If you are experiencing chronic issues with tightness, mobility issues, aches or pains, it’s important to connect with a trained PT who can assist in your athletic journey. Despite all the steps that many athletes take to prevent injuries from happening, some bodies are more fragile and/or weak than others.
Don’t let a weakness or mobility issue be an excuse and don't assume that "this is just the way I am" as if you are no treatable or fixable.

I come from 6 years of chronic hip and back issues which took me out of running for 1-3 months every year for those 6 years. I found myself rehabing before a race instead of training for a race.
I became so frustrated that I even told myself I would never be healed and this is just the way I am and convinced myself that I would never be a successful triathlete because of my body.
Well, I am now going on almost 3 years of no injuries. Although I do have to do a lot of extra work when I'm not training to keep my hips and back healthy and strong and I still get some niggles that remind me that I am not injury-proof, I was able to treat what I never thought was treatable.
(I did get a lot of help along the way - Thanks Gloria and Chris!)

If you are injured or recovering from an injury, don't give up!
Always focus on your individual needs for your body.