Summer is the time for sports and exercise. It’s good news that little by little we’re becoming aware of the connection between physical activity, our health and the quality of our summer experiences. This is a season that invites us to consider a number of things when exercising.
- Always warm up. Just because it’s hotter than usual doesn’t mean it’s not necessary to warm up. This is because we tend to associate warming up with just body temperature, when in fact there are multiple physiological adaptations that require a good warm-up so as to be able to enjoy exercise without the risk of injury.
- Increase the activity progressively. This reflects the principle of progressive increase in the work load, defined as the total of stimuli that the body receives. If a person doesn’t have experience, it’s necessary to be cautious, little by little increasing the amount of time dedicated to exercise, so as to avoid injury.
- Physical activity in healthy surroundings is a long-distance endeavor. You can’t achieve lasting change in a short time, so to reach optimum physical form it’s vitally important to be consistent and stick to a program. This, along with a progressive increase in training, are two of the most important principles in achieving our aims and in being able to enjoy sports activity more.
- “If we always do the same thing, we’ll never go beyond where we’ve already been.” This means that, with regard to the principle of progressive increase in the workload, that the stimuli and goals have to be a little more demanding. Thus we activate the principle of adaptation (general adaptation syndrome) which governs the body and consolidates physical conditioning. For this to yield positive results, we need the advice of a qualified, accredited professional.
- Adapting previous training to the activity we want to practice. For example, if the aim is to go down into a ravine, enjoy a mountain setting or do some surfing, it would be a mistake to prepare just by using aerobic machines on the sagittal plane (bicycle, elliptical, treadmill…) because you would be ignoring other planes and work loads inherent in those sporting activities.
- Work on strength. Force is the genesis of movement, and it is through movement that we interact with our surroundings and enjoy exercise activities. Strength work helps to give stability to the joints, thus preventing a great number of injuries and giving much more confidence in motor actions.
- Look for complementary activities. If your favorite sports activity is unilateral or places too much emphasis on one part of the boy rather than another (tennis, paddle, beach volleyball, surfing, football…) it’s important to find complementary activities or exercises that engage parts of the body we don’t normally use.
- Take regular breaks to drink water. Bad hydration can cause a muscle injury that will prevent you from physical activity during the rest of your holidays. It’s also necessary to avoid exercise during the hottest hours of the day.
- Use the right material. Footwear is fundamental and it’s necessary to get advice about the kind of footstep involved and what shoe is the most appropriate for the biomechanical characteristics of each person. When exercising outdoors, if technical material is necessary, be sure that it’s officially approved.
- Once the end of exercise is approaching, it’s very important to progressively reduce the intensity. The so-called return to calm is an important part of the activity itself. Exercise should gradually descend in intensity and end with passive stretching that involves the parts of the body that have received the greatest strain during the sports activity. These exercises should be static and prolonged.
Summer is a good time to make a change in our habits and practice some sports. But while we may have time and the will, remember this: consistency is what will consolidate the benefits of our investment. Keep exercising during the rest of the year and next summer you’ll be able to achieve even greater goals.