The fitness trail
June 10, 2010
Summer sports season is upon us and if you have not already begun to prepare, it is not too late to begin your preparation program. Over the next seven weeks, we will highlight drills for tennis, golf, outdoor cycling, water sports, hiking and baseball/softball/volleyball. This week, however, let’s focus on general summer sports preparation basics, which apply to all of the sports covered in the following weeks. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program or sport, please consult your physician.
The Five Components of Physical Fitness Applied to Summer Sports
Regardless of which summer sport you participate in, apply the following five physical fitness components: power, agility, reaction time, balance, and stability. They are also important in preparing for all summer sports and will be covered within this seven-week series specific to each sport.
• Cardiovascular Endurance is the heart, lungs, and circulatory system’s ability to extract oxygen from the outside atmosphere and transport it to the working muscles. In simple terms, we refer to it as your aerobic capacity/foundation or stamina. Without a solid aerobic foundation, the rest of your training preparation will be less effective. Even though your sport may require more skill orientation, such as golf – your body’s ability to walk the course and to play 18 holes – the better your cardiovascular endurance, the less fatigue you may experience and this impacts your energy level and your performance.
• Muscular Strength is the capacity of a muscle to exert force against an external resistance measured in one repetition. For example, in tennis, the better your muscular strength, the better you will follow through with your tennis strokes applying enough force to really challenge your opponent (i.e. this is also about power, a combination of strength/speed).
• Muscular Endurance is the capacity of a muscle to exert force against an external resistance a number of times (i.e. think of swinging a tennis racquet). Imagine how many times you hit the tennis ball, swing the baseball bat, revolve the pedals, hit the volleyball, climb the hill when hiking or swing the golf club during your matches, games and events. The better your muscular endurance, the better your ability will be to endure those actions throughout play without fatiguing.
• Flexibility is the range of motion and is joint specific. You can be quite flexible in your shoulder joint and very inflexible in your hip joint. In general, the more flexible you are, without creating joint instability, the better. All of the skills/drills that are integral parts of summer sports and preparation are enhanced, and potential injury may be avoided with improvements in flexibility.
• Body Composition is the body’s lean-to-fat ratio. Lean tissue includes bone, blood and muscle and fat is, well, fat. All summer sports benefit from a healthy body composition. An elite athlete will generally need to maintain a much lower lean to fat ratio than a recreational athlete due to the demands placed upon the elite athlete.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She can be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com, her email at NSFGL@comcast.net and her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com.