The number 40 is not a scarey number, until it becomes your age. Your mind is still in its 20s, and it tells you “Yes you can,” but your body says, “no you can’t!” As you get older your body just can’t keep up like it used to, even those of you who are in shape. Have you ever bent over to pick up something and felt a pull in your back? I have, and it is no fun. But don’t let that stop you from doing what you love to do, or compete with the youngsters. You may not be as fast as you once was, you may not have the arm anymore, but you can still get out and show everyone and yourself that you can play.
The most important thing you can do is stretch out before you begin any kind of excersise, game or playing with your kids. Whether you are bowling, playing golf or softball, it takes only a few minutes to stretch out and that will save you days of pain.
I will use myself as an example. A few weeks ago I joined a softball league after not playing for over 10 years. I was a bit cocky, since back in the day I was pretty good. As it would happen, I didn’t properly stretch out before the second game and I paid for it. I stepped up to bat, and hit a screamer (insert sarcasm) to the shortstop. As I started toward first base, pushing my 230 pound butt as fast as I could, I beat out the throw and was safe at first. But as I stepped on the bag, I not just pulled one muscle, but one in each leg. Thankfully, we did not have another game for several days and using Icey Hot, heating pad and the whirlpool bath I was able to heal. But I paid for my mistake.
Since then, I have made sure that I arrive at the field about 45 minutes before each game and take my time stretching out so that I won’t pull anything again. Below, I am going to give you a short checklist to go by that works for me. It is general and practicall all atheletes do this before they compete.
As I said, get to the field, course, gym or anywhere you are going to play 30 to 45 minutes early. For all the stretching exercising do NOT bounce!
- Stand with your feet together bending slowly at the waist trying to touch your toes, going as far as you can go and hold it for 10 seconds.
- While still standing, spread your legs apart and bend at the waist trying to touch the ground between your legs. Hold it for 10 seconds.
- Sit on the ground with your legs straight together in front of you. Bend at the waist and try to touch your toes. Go as far as you can and hold it for 10 seconds.
- Spread your legs apart and again, bend at the waist touching the ground between your legs. Then try to touch each toe while legs are spread.
- Pull your feet up and put the bottoms of your feet together. Grab ahold of your feet with your hands and put your forearms against your knees, pushing outward. This will stretch out your groin.
- Stand up and begin to do a few sprints, stretching your legs out. You don’t have to run fast, just enough that it will help loosen you up.
These six tips will make the difference between having an enjoyable game or hurting yourself and missing several games. We all think we are superstars, we want to show off for the ladies in the stands, we love to hear the fans cheer, and we want our “Glory Days” back. We may not have the speed, or the arm we once had, but we can still have a great time and get in better shape all at the same time. Since the beginning of the season, I have lost 10 pounds. Oh, and winning helps too!