What is it about Wimbledon that makes hundreds of us pick-up a tennis racket for the first time in at least a year and rush down to the local tennis courts to leap and lunge about and do our best to emulate Andy Murray and Laura Robson?
Unfortunately, not having the fitness, flexibility and skills of our tennis hero’s mean many of us hobble off the courts 20 minutes later sporting some kind of injury. Well this year, in an attempt to reduce those twisted ankles and strained wrists we are suggesting some simple warm-up and cool down exercises you can try.
We know prevention is better than cure, if you don’t warm-up properly before playing a vigorous exercise like tennis, it is possible you could cause an injury or will not perform to your best ability. We also know that a regular sports massage can help you remain injury free.(see previous blog post 7th April 2014). A sports massage also helps to speed up recovery after injury and is used to treat strains and sprains. Additional benefits include reducing stress and tension (helping with stress management), keeping the body flexible, stimulating the circulation (for a healthy heart) and speeding up the healing process. All in all a sports massage can improve the workplace health and wellbeing of your company employees.
Warming-up for a game of tennis
- Start with some simple trunk twisting exercises. Holding your racket in front of you with one hand on the handle the other on the head of the racket and gently twist from right to left, being careful not to over exert.
- Next you can do arm circles to loosen the shoulders. Hold your arms up to the side, shoulder height and gently rotate both arms in a small circular motion forward 10 times and then backwards 10 times. Rest and then repeat making medium size circular movements. Finish with big circular rotations, to use the full range of motion of your joints.
- For the legs, start with a slow sideways skip along the baseline of the tennis court and then back again. Do this five times. This gets your muscles used to the lateral movement used a lot in tennis.
- Continue with high knee jogs to stretch your hamstrings. Try to build up slowly from 10 to 30 high knee jogs, resting in between. For your quads jog to the net kicking up your heels so they touch your buttocks and do the same jogging away from the net.
- Stretch the lower back. To do this sit on the floor with your legs straight ahead of you and try to touch your toes, first straight forward, then open your legs into a v-shape and try to touch opposite hand to toe alternatively.
Remember to cool down. Slow your exercise down gradually, don’t suddenly stop, and then stretch out your quads, hamstrings, back and arms.
This is not an exhaustive list of warm-up exercises that you can do and all exercises should be carried out with caution. It is advised that you ask a professional trainer if you are concerned about your fitness in any way.
If you want to use Wimbledon week as an opportunity to further promote improved workplace health and wellbeing, On Site Massage Co offer a range of wellbeing workshops. They cover a wide range of topics, fantastic for raising awareness and giving practical advice on nutrition for life, fit for life, posture awareness, stress management and general health.