Believe it or not, it’s time to think about fall sports. Are you ready?
We tend to see patients in the fall who fit into two categories: those who over-trained during the summer and those who did not train at all.
If you are worried that you may have over-trained during the summer, watch for mild nagging pain that becomes more persistent and that may indicate tendonitis or shin splints. Children may experience knee or heel pain that can indicate inflammation of bony growth plates. To avoid the onset of these issues, get plenty of rest in anticipation of higher intensity training associated with team sports in the fall. Intersperse total rest days with days of light to moderate aerobic conditioning as part of your exercise regimen. Don’t play through the pain, assuming that it will improve.
If you took the summer off, you may risk injury if you suddenly ramp up your training intensity. Start working on your fitness at least several weeks in advance of a forthcoming season to give your body adequate time to get back in shape. Consider starting with 15-20 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity two to three times a week at first, with progressive increases in activity time and/or intensity. Here in Texas, you’ll need to remain mindful of the elements. If you are not conditioned to exercising outdoors in the heat, be watchful for “summer sports” issues like dehydration.
However you spent your summer, here are three additional things you can do to get ready for fall sports:
Make sure your equipment is in good working order. You can start by oiling your glove, pumping up your ball, cleaning your cleats or finding your mouth guard. Do a check: do you have the right supplies – protective equipment, extra socks, and so on? Stock up on plenty of sports drinks and energy snacks. If you have kids, make sure shoes and helmets still fit.
Work on skills and techniques that are relevant to your fall activity. Consider drills for hand-eye coordination, foot speed and agility and flexibility, depending on your sport. These sport-specific activities can get “dusty” with summer cross-training, or may be new, if you are trying a new sport. Feeling comfortable with fundamentals can go a long way towards get the fall season off on the right foot.
Look into getting “well checks” through physical therapy and/or your family physician. Physical assessments are a great way to learn more about your base level of aerobic capacity, strength, flexibility and blood pressure. Baseline testing to establish normal performance on cognitive, balance and vision tests is also important for participants in sports that have a risk of concussion. Physical exams may reveal “weak spots” that you can address early to prevent pain or injury during the fall season.
Call us at (512) 339-1500 to ask about Symmetry’s wellness screening options.