Summer can be a great time to pick up an outdoor sport. Whether you’re a long-time athlete or a newbie to all sports, participating in a recreational past-time can be a good, healthy change of pace from traditional exercise. Local fitness and athletic centers often offer lessons and opportunities to compete in individual and team sports. But oftentimes the most convenient place to inquire about an outdoor team sports is at work.
Many companies have a softball team open to every employee, regardless of athletic experience. Signing up can provide you with a chance to socialize with other employees while getting in a light workout. Yes, as much fun as a sport can be and as demanding as many sports are, softball is not among the most physically strenuous ones. But with a good warm-up and quick cool-down, a softball game can be a good active recovery day where you can focus on improving flexibility, coordination, and maybe even speed and quickness.
To get in a warm-up before a game, you’ll want to get to the field at least 10 minutes before you’re scheduled to play. Jog a few laps around the diamond to warm up your core temperature and before you try any stretches. Once you’ve warmed-up, be sure to do some a couple sets of 10 reps for each of the following dynamic flexibility exercises: leg swings, standing twists, and forward lunges. The following pictures of leg swings are provided by Personal Training on the Net, a resource for personal trainers. Here’s how you complete a standing twist or rotation: stand tall with feet about hip-width apart. Extend your arms in front of you about shoulder height with you palms touching each other. From here, activate your abdominals and focus on engaging your core and hip muscles to twist your torso, left hip and knee to the right–almost as if you were swinging a baseball bat! Return to the start position, standing tall, with arms extended straight ahead. Repeat on the other side for a total of 10 reps.
These prep exercises should warm up muscle groups you can expect to use during the game. Enjoy playing, and once your time on the field is over, be sure to do some static stretches for your legs and shoulders.
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