Summer Cross-training

It’s summertime and for many, the end of a busy sports season – hockey, volleyball, competitive school and club teams, and seasonal classes like pickleball that take a break over the summer. What to do until the fall other than relax, enjoy the sunshine, and kick your feet up?

Crosstraining in the “off season” for any activity is a chance to try new things, challenge your body, stimulate the mind and stay off the couch. There are many options to explore and as the old adage goes…variety is the spice of life!

Locally in Bragg Creek, the Yoga Spirit studio is a yoga sanctuary in a beautiful space which offers yoga classes, workshops, sound baths and other special events. This is a lovely space to feel at peace both physically and mentally. Yoga is a great way to unwind from your current activities and restore some balance, core strengthening and flexibility.

If you’re looking for more adventure for both adults and kids, The Handle-Bar offers adventure daytrips, vacations, kids camps, rentals and a delicious cafe. If you want to explore some of the less travelled, hidden gems of the area, they know the spots to find. They have you covered with both activities and delicious food to satiate your belly. Another local mountain biking outfit is Alberta 66 Mountain Biking. They offer coaching, shuttle services and guiding to safely get you up and down the mountain. Whether you’re new to mountain biking or already a seasoned vet, they have all the tips and tricks to keep you safe and improve your skills. Having a guide, a coach and getting together in a group helps you challenge yourself, try a new activity and explore some terrain we often don’t get to in the winter months.

If you are hoping to stay in shape and get back to sporting activities and routines this fall, incorporating some plyometric and eccentric training into your routine is something to consider. Plyometric exercises involve quick, explosive movements designed to increase speed and power.  This type of exercise improves the function of muscles, tendons, ligaments and the nervous system. It prepares the body to convert strength into speed and power, which translates to better reaction times and injury prevention. Once you have established a good base of cardio, weight training and flexibility – adding plyometrics into your routine will really improve your performance. Some examples are squat jumps, lateral jumps, tuck jumps, bounding, and power skipping.

Eccentric training involves challenging the muscle during it’s lengthening phase. As opposed to a concentric contraction, where the muscle is controlling a force as it shortens. An example of this is a bicep curl – as you bend your elbow, your biceps are contracting concentrically. As you lower the weight and straighten your elbow, the bicep is controlling that motion as it lengthens.  Muscles can work with higher loads eccentrically than concentrically, which translates to increased muscle strength, and increased muscle mass (muscular hypertrophy).  Walking downstairs, running downhill, and landing from a jump are examples of eccentric activities.  

If you have low grade injury that is lingering or you want to take your recovery to the next level we can help get you there. Our team of therapists – physiotherapists, athletic therapy, massage therapy, personal training and a certified pedorthist (foot orthotics and orthopaedic footwear expert)– is a team that has you covered. Stay active this summer, try something new and most importantly keep having fun despite what Mother Nature throws our way. Happy Summer Bragg Creek and surrounding communities!

Jennifer Gordon (BSc.PT, GunnIMS, AFCI)