As someone who participates in recreational leagues 2-3 times per week, I have seen my share of injuries either from lack of conditioning or improper warm up and cool down routines. The NCHS (National Center for Health Statistics) estimates that approximately 7 million Americans seek medical attention for a sports-related injury. Spring is here and many outdoor recreational leagues are right around the corner. Most people who participate in rec leagues are just doing it for fun and to stay active after a long work day. Some play for the sake of competition. Regardless of the reasons for participating in rec sports, no one wants to be injured. I will be the first to admit that fitting in a proper warm up or cool down is difficult. Typically, you are hustling from work to make the game, and time between games on the court/ field is non-existent.
By “staying in good shape” you can prepare your body for sports. This can be done by doing a solid combination of mobility, stability, and conditioning exercises prior to and during the season. A study by Niederbracht, et. al. showed that complimentary eccentric/concentric weight training can reduce the risk of shoulder injury on competitive overhead athletes such as tennis players. Begin the training pre-season for a good cardiovascular and strength base. This should allow you to play the entire season without having to miss games because of nagging injuries. This eccentric / concentric training (described above) does not always require use of heavy weights or equipment in a gym setting. A quick well-rounded home program two times a week prior to your recreational season should make the difference in your performance and injury prevention.
See the video below for examples of exercises to perform at home:
Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of each exercise
Incorporate Jump rope or running for cardio
Have a great season!
J Sci Med Sport. 2006 Dec;9(6):479-89. Epub 2006 Apr 19. Non-fatal sports and recreational violent injuries among children and teenagers, United States, 2001-2003. Conn JM, Annest JL, Bossarte RM, Gilchrist J.