Thursday, December 7

Are you a Sunday athlete? | Today

Philip Ariza

You risk knees, elbows, back… Add two hours of exercise a week and avoid risks

Marta Fdez Vallejo

Playing a game of paddle tennis or binge running on Sunday and doing nothing else the rest of the week is a way of going straight to the dry dock due to an injury. Amateur athletes also need a training plan, physical conditioning that avoids ‘breaking’ that day they put on their shoes and give it their all. Come on, not only does Messi have to keep in shape, Sunday fans play with their knees, elbows, back…

“We must dedicate a minimum of two days a week to working on physical preparation that allows us to practice our favorite sport with fewer risks. What you have to avoid is not doing any exercise during the week, ”says physiotherapist Jonathan Gastón Escobar, university professor and head of the Kinett Advanced clinic in Bilbao. Why? Because physical work seeks that the muscles and joints do not suffer “excessive stress” at the time of playing sports. It must also be “specific” for each modality.

And it won’t take long. On each of those two days of preparation, five or ten minutes should be spent warming up: «The bicycle or treadmill machines can help us. We should reserve another 20 or 30 minutes for strength work and another 10 or 12 minutes for mobility training”, preferably in the “muscular area and the joints that we are going to use”. This physiotherapist gives two examples with specific sports: if we practice paddle tennis we should give priority to the forearm to avoid elbow injury and, regarding mobility, we would place special emphasis on the spine, “always without forcing”. If it is golf, we would focus the preparation on the shoulder, on the rotation of the joint and the turns of the waist. Another rule: “Between those two weekly training sessions, 72 hours must pass,” highlights the head of Kinett Advanced.

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The day that we reserve for sports practice, it is key to respect this recipe: warm-up before and stretching after. The warm-up phase should last between 15 and 30 minutes, although it will depend on the physical conditions of the athlete, and it must be progressive, from less to greater intensity.

“You should never stretch beforehand, unless they are active, with movement,” says Jonathan Gastón. And we don’t have to do them right after the sports activity either, we should let a few minutes go by. “If we overexert ourselves we can even wait to shower and be relaxed. Let half or an hour pass, “adds the physiotherapist. If we stretch before the sports activity “our muscles relax and they will be less prepared for training”, completes the doctor in Physical Activity and Sports Alberto García Bataller. “In addition to waiting a few minutes, you don’t have to force postures. The objective is not to improve flexibility, but to restore the normal tone of the muscles, so if we stretch hard we could cause an injury », he specifies.

Women must take into account that their morphology is different from that of men and predisposes them “to specific injuries,” warns García Bataller. “The femur has a different angle at the knee joint with the fibula and tibia. Therefore, the anterior cruciate ligament is under more stress and the knee needs more strength work and exercises in which the nervous system strives to maintain balance, ”she adds. She suggests movements such as being on one leg on one foot and on the other, with eyes closed, on a ‘bosu’ or unstable surface and always barefoot.

in consultations

“Many more ‘Sunday’ athletes arrive at physiotherapists’ consultations than those who exercise four or five days a week,” says the specialist. And in recent years many knee, back or elbow problems caused by paddle tennis have been seen. “It is a sport that is easy to learn and fun at all levels. Lately it is practiced by many people who are not used to exercising, “adds Jonathan Gastón. Running is another of the modalities that is experiencing a rebound in fans and in which injuries have also multiplied, many of them back.

This university professor puts the focus on one of the hidden consequences of injuries. “They also have psychological consequences. Giving up the sports habit means stopping enjoying an activity that allows us to interact with others and feel better. It can be the origin of depressions. And even more so as age advances.

The keys

  • Two days a week
    Two days a week, separated from each other by 72 hours, is enough.

  • Exercises
    Five or ten minutes of warm-up, another 20 or 30 minutes of strength and 10 or 12 of mobility

  • The day we do sports
    You have to warm up and stretch. Stretching always afterwards and not immediately

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