If you’re a football fan, you’ll know that UK league football kicks off in August, with Manchester City bidding to retain the Premier League they won in May. The season is starting a little later this year, following the World Cup in June and July. England will be warming up this month, too, for their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, which begins with matches in September, October, and November, plus March and June next year.
As the season starts, every manager is hoping for the best line-up for their teams. But how do pro footballers stay in shape in the off-season, so that they’re ready to go when it all starts again?
It seems that many footballers keep their workouts going, but they may mix it up, like other sports players, with sports or activities they don’t normally do. They may do gym work, circuit training, running or something completely different. Some choose to work on a particular area – like strength or core training, power or agility.
In fact, at the recent Commonwealth Games, it was revealed that swimming gold medal winner Hannah Miley includes rock climbing in her workouts to build upper body strength. Rest is also an essential part of staying fit, as is nutrition. You may have been doing all these things, too, if your sport, like football, hasn’t officially kicked off yet.
However, you’ll need to watch out that you don’t over-do it, even when you’re not playing your favourite game. Crossing over into running or swimming, for example if they’re not your sports, could lead to other injuries, if you’re not careful. That’s why it’s important you include an effective stretching routine into your workout. Make sure you gently work all your muscle groups from your head and neck right down to your calves and ankles. Or why not pick up a yoga or Pilates class to guide you through some great, stretching bodywork exercises?
If you’ve taken time out from exercise, it’s also important that you ease back into a routine gradually. You may have been super-fit when your season finished, but fitness gradually disappears and you shouldn’t be discouraged, if the first few weeks of training feel harder than you expected. Just do what your body is prepared to do and try to avoid injury by building up gradually. After all, the worst thing would be to start the season sitting on the sidelines, because you’re injured!
And when you start to play, keep the focus on stretching and a good warm-up. If you’re playing a sport like football, your hamstrings, quads and calves will probably be much tighter than they were at the end of the season. It’s important to pay attention to these key areas.
Of course, if you do pick up an injury – or even just a little niggle – the sooner you get it sorted out, the better it will be. We know how important it is not just to get fit, but to stay fit, so you can enjoy your sport throughout the season.
If you’d like to find out more about a pre-season check-up or to make an appointment, pop in to see Donna Norman from Bespoke Injury Management at Oxford Street Therapy Centre or call 01933 224454 or 07814 396872. You can also email donna@bespokeinjurymanagement.