From Desk Jockey to Weekend Athlete: Preparing for a New Sports Diet

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After a long winter where many avoided gyms and indoor sports for Covid safety or simply due to disrupted routines, the urge for office professionals to get up and start running, golfing, doing cycling or playing is strong. But while many may be ready to forget their months of inactivity, the human body doesn’t quickly forget that couch time.

“If you’ve been relatively inactive for a period of time and we’ve all hibernated through the winter, you really want to get out and run on the first day,” said Dr. Daniel H. Blatz, a physiatry and medicine specialist. sports at HSS Orthopedics at Stamford Health. “But often what people do is they overdo it, especially on the first day, week or even month.

“It’s not rocket science,” Blatz continued, “but one of the main things is just trying to slowly increase your activity regimen. So if you were running five miles a day in the fall but whether you stop in the winter, you wouldn’t want to start running that far right off the bat.

Photo by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay.

According to Blatz, the need for warm-ups and cool-downs comes from tissues throughout the body taking time to adapt to changing conditions. Tissues such as muscles or the cardiovascular system, which have not been used for some time, will take some time to “soak up” good blood flow and an immediate supply of nutrients.

Warm-ups help these tissues ensure they have access to what they need, while cool-downs help regulate withdrawal, with regular and repeated exercise ensuring they can hold more oxygen and nutrients. and last longer, improving energy levels and preventing injuries.

John Giametta, physiotherapist at HSS Sports Rehab at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, agreed on the need to warm up before exercises to avoid injury and ensure health.

“People always ask me what kind of warm-up to do, and what I generally recommend is some sort of dynamic warm-up that kind of simulates what you’re going to do,” Giametta said.

A good warm-up will stimulate the muscle groups that will be used in the sport about to be practiced or the exercise to be performed. Giametta and Blatz recommend not continuing with the full exercise if any kind of major pain or discomfort appears during warm-ups.

According to Giametta, passive stretching before activities is no longer recommended, and Blatz shared her view that an ideal warm-up should be rigorous enough to break a light sweat.

While it’s true that improving fitness often involves pushing yourself, Blatz said that in addition to trusting their instincts, athletes should pay close attention to the pain that causes them to lose shape.

“If you start altering your gait while running or swimming because of pain, you need to stop,” he said. “If you start limping from discomfort, you should stop because it’s going to mess up your whole biomechanics and could cause a separate injury.”

Both experts also took pride in practicing what they preached. They play multiple sports, which provide cross-training benefits and are sure to warm up before every event.

Blatz even warms up before playing tag with his daughter.

“I’ll run down my street a couple of times, you know, do a little jog,” he said. “Tag can be intense because you have to sprint short distances and a lot of us don’t sprint much these days.”

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