Four Ways to Be at the Top of Your Game (Whatever it is)

Famous athletes or the lucky among us manage to throw a ball, run, swing a golf club, play tennis, or perform many other repetitive motions in their chosen sport/hobby without much worry. Yet many of us may struggle to stay injury or pain-free. Those with existing problem spots: the sore knee, bum elbow, weak ankle, unstable core, etc may tend to suffer a breakdown of form that comes with the longer the activity lasts….leading to some potential problems. So what can you do to guard against being your body’s own worst enemy?

Check Your Flight List: Just like a pilot has a check-list before flight, go through a mental list during your activity. If you’re swinging a golf club, is your head down, knees bent properly, core tight? If you’re running, are you making sure that your hands are loose, and your arms move up and down and not across your body? The longer you run/bike/swim, etc the more fatigued your body gets and something has to give – and it’s usually the good form you started with. Every so often check in and do a quick run-down to ensure that you’re not forming bad habits that can come back to haunt you.

Pay Attention to Your Body: Don’t be a hero! If you notice pain, tightness, discomfort, etc that is distracting during your sport, address it immediately. Sure, sometimes it’s a phantom mystery pain that disappears once your body warms up; however, if the pain persists past your initial usual warm-up phase, or worsens, it’s time to stop and assess your situation. Follow up with your provider and address your body’s “check engine” light before you’re stuck needing a major repair.

Listen to Your Providers: If you’re actively recovering from an injury or procedure, under a provider’s care, or seeing your PT, now is not the time to decide you can’t live without that Iron Man medal. Any short-term glory will be overshadowed by a prolonged recovery and potential damage you can do by pushing it to get back out on the road/field/course/pool, etc.

Learn Proper Form: If you are like many of us, you may not know what you’re doing wrong until you’ve perfected some bad habits. One alternative saying to “practice makes perfect” is “practice makes permanent.” If you notice that you’re having pain and discomfort the more miles you log, the more rounds you golf, or laps you swim, chances are there are some minor tweaks to your form that could result in improvement both to your performance and your overall fitness. A physical therapist can assess your pain and look at what you might be doing to either cause or exacerbate your discomfort.

While most of us aren’t elite or professional athletes, we can still learn proper form and the right way to perform activities and minimize stress on our bodies. As part of your wellness plan this year, why not schedule an appointment for our Sustained Optimal Performance program (SOP)? Our SOP is ideal for building a strong foundation that will benefit your total health and your sports/hobby performance. One of our talented and highly-trained physical therapists will discuss goals, assess your movement and any issues, and tailor specific recommendations toward your improved movement, fitness, and overall health. Our SOP is cash-based but may even qualify for distribution of payment from your HSA for prevention and wellness services! With multiple central Indiana locations, Body One Physical Therapy has a convenient location near you: serving central Indiana, from Downtown Indianapolis, North Indianapolis, South Indianapolis, Zionsville, and Fishers.