Thursday, March 08, 2012

The Weekend Champion

Playing a sport is equivalent to being fit. We have been conditioned to think that if we play we will achieve fitness. Many people take on some sport in the hope to gain fitness or to lose weight.

At the same time most of us are busy in our work. We are so busy that we don’t have time for exercise and sport. The only relief we get is on the weekend. It’s therefore not uncommon to find people engaging in sport over the weekend. I call these people the weekend champions.  
A weekend champion is a brave soul. I say this because he or she risks suffering a severe sports injury. Though playing some sport will keep you fit, you also need to be fit to enable you to play the sport safely.

It’s not a good idea to play a sport to gain fitness. This is especially true for competitive sports like football, tennis or cricket. Most sports involve sudden spurts of running with sudden stops or turns. They also involve heavy use of certain muscle groups for e.g. throwing a cricket ball puts a heavy strain on the shoulder muscles and ligaments. To add to this is the risk of falling. Muscles that are in tone and fit can handle such excessive strain and can protect the neighbouring joints. But this kind of strain is too much for the unfit person and he is at a high risk to strain or pull his muscle or ligament. His muscles are also too weak to protect his joints and he may suffer an injury. The knee is the most common joint involved in such injuries.

So a venture started to gain fitness often proves deleterious and one lands up with a sports injury.

The right way is to give the sport the respect it deserves. One should play for fun, recreation and healthy competition. One should train to be fit to play. Most sports involve running so one should jog or run daily to tone the muscles of the thigh and leg. Stretching exercises are also critical and ought to be part of a warm up routine before you play. Specific strengthening exercises are also important. For e.g. shoulder exercises for a cricketer.

Once one is fit to play, then he or she truly benefits from the sport. Not only does one gain joy and satisfaction but the sport makes you fitter. And the risk of injury is considerable decreased.   

To conclude I caution one from being a weekend champion. Don’t just get up one fine day and start playing competitive sports like football. You will pay a heavy price. Instead train to become fit and then enjoy the true benefits of sport.