SLED FIT TIP - Stretch to be a better rider ….
You always see football, baseball, and basketball players warming-up and stretching before a game, so why should snowmobiling be any different. Stretching is an important component of fitness and everyday life, but it is often neglected. Stretching is one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance and injury prevention. For example a major cause of lower back pain can be due to poor flexibility of the low back and hamstrings (back of upper leg). A pulled hamstring is very painful and is a very common snowmobiling injury. Stretching is also a great preventive measure for arm pump. Don't make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won't be effective. Here are just some of the stretching and flexibility benefits: • Improve and maintain your range of motion, which improves balance on the sled • Increased physical efficiency and performance • Increased balance and coordination • Decreases risk of low back pain • Reduces muscle tension and soreness • Decreased risk of injury • Improves circulation and concentration • Relieves chronic pain Another benefit of stretching is that is can be done anywhere, you don’t need a gym to do it. A light warm up should be done prior to stretching. Stretching is not warming up. Warm-up, can be achieved by doing some light aerobic activity. This can be as simple as walking, doing jumping jacks or running in place. When doing stretches do not bounce, find the point at which you feel the stretch and then hold it. Twenty to thirty seconds is a good general length to hold stretches. Your stretch point is the point at which you feel the stretch is working but not to the point of feeling pain. The old saying, "No pain, no gain," does not apply to stretching. Here are a few basic stretching exercises:
Lunge Hip Flexor Stretch
• Begin by standing upright and taking one large step forward with one foot into the lunge position.
• Rest your hands on the upper thigh of your front leg and gently push your hips forward into the stretch. You should feel this stretch in the hip flexor area of your back leg.
• Tip - Try to keep your upper body upright and your back as straight as possible.