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Fitness Prep

Fitness Prep

Before you dust off your tennis or pickleball racquet, golf clubs or garden shears, now’s the time to get your body ready for these activities.

Too often our excitement to get back into the game can bring on nagging pains of past injuries and even bring on new aches, impacting our quality of life. By no means should this hold you back.

Trevor Pickett of Sable River, Nova Scotia, has been a personal trainer and fitness instructor for over 10 years and was recently named 2023 Canadian Fitness Professional of the Year. As the owner of Pickett knows all too well that as springtime approaches, few take the time to prep their bodies for the activities ahead. “Let’s face it, most of us have been hibernating crunched over our desks and computers, which can impact our spine and muscles, and yes, we might start feeling our age.  Although stretching is important in helping elongate the muscles, Pickett says it’s the lack of mobilization or range of motion of a joint that needs to be addressed. “Mobilization can help warm up the body and prevent muscle spasms and lower back pain, especially when embarking on any activity that requires repetitive movements.”

TIP: “It’s important to move slowly and under control. You should never force a stretch as your muscles are usually tight for a reason. We always teach our clients the proper technique and make time for both dynamic and static stretches, and don’t forget to strengthen your core.”

Last word:

Hibernation, for many, has meant being chained to our desks. Like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, our bodies require a few squirts of oil to loosen those stiff joints. Remember – go slowly, take frequent breaks, and always keep your posture in mind. And if you need a simple warm-up, check out Pickett’s Yard Work Mini Warm-Up on YouTube.

Remember to always check with your practitioner before starting any exercise.

Post Work Static Stretches – hold or move throughout for 30 sec.

Cat-Cow Stretch

  • On all fours, gently look up towards the sky and become aware of how that changes your entire spine’s position.
  • Tuck your tailbone beneath you, which will change your spine’s position in the other direction.
  • You may feel a gentle stretch in the lower and upper back.

Chest Opener

  • Stand in front of a wall with your right arm outstretched, palm on the wall.
  • Turn your body to the left to feel a stretch and repeat with the other arm.

Pre-work Dynamic Mobilizations – 3 sets of 10

Good Mornings

  • With a slight bend in the knees, push your butt backwards while either holding a rake/dowel along your shoulders. As an option, clasp your hands behind your head.
  • Be sure to keep a slight bend in your knees and squat down until you feel a gentle stretch in your hamstrings and then repeat.

Standing Spinal Rotation

  • With either a rake/dowel along your shoulders or on your chest, slowly and gently twist your body to the left and right.

Single Leg Side Steps

  • This is meant to stabilize the hip. Keep a slight bend in the knee and hip at all times.
  • Slowly and with control, stand on one leg and slightly step out to one side. Repeat on other side.
  • You can use the rake/dowel for balance if necessary.