Cold Weather Stretching
WRITTEN BY THIROSHAN CHETTY, OUR DIRECTOR OF TENNIS.
Everyone has their routine when warming up to play any sport. Some days it may seem harder to get those muscles ready than others. This usually has something to do with the weather conditions. When it is warm outside it is easier to get the blood flowing and those muscles warmed up fairly quickly. When it is cooler outside, warming up is a different story. You need to take more time with your warm up routine and make sure you are completely warm to avoid injury. Here are some cold weather stretching tips for you when playing your sport during the winter season.
Never stretch cold muscles. Before you begin any stretching routine you should begin with a quick 5 minute aerobic exercise. Do some jumping jacks or take a short distance jog or walk to get your heart rate up. All it takes is 5 minutes to get your blood pumping. This shouldn’t be anything difficult, it should only be a short aerobic routine to wake your body up for the next step in your warm up.
Dynamic stretching is suggested when warming up, especially in cooler weather conditions. Dynamic stretching is stretching while moving a specific muscle group repetitively. Examples of dynamic stretches are leg kicks and arm circles. This not only stretches your muscles but also gets your blood flowing, which can be hard to do when it is cold outside. Many of us are used to doing what is called static stretching. This is when we hold a position for a certain count while we feel a stretch. Examples of static stretches are touching our toes or butterfly sits. This does increase flexibility but is not as effective at getting the blood to flow which will help you warm up before your outdoor activity. Once you complete your aerobic routine and dynamic stretching your body should be ready for your outdoor activity.
Once you have completed your outdoor activity it is important to cool down. This is where static stretching comes into play. Static stretching is a great way to cool your body down. Static stretching also helps de-stress your body and lower your heart rate back to normal after playing an intense cardiovascular sport. Just an important note to end on, never do static stretching to the point where it hurts. Go as far as you feel comfortable, flexibility will come with a proper routine and consistency.
If you are out on the courts this winter and need some help warming up on those cooler days let me know. I can put together a great warm up routine to get your ready for your tennis match. For more information about Golden Ocala tennis call me at 352-402-4351 or visit our tennis blog.