Many of the problems athletes come to see me for are preventable. When they arrive, we deal with the problem at hand, and I begin to educate them on prevention as the visits progress. Even though endurance sports differ, the problems they cause are often very similar. I like to say, “runners want to run to warm up, run to run, and run to cool down.” The problems with an activity can often be alleviated by warming up and cooling down properly, but some need more regular maintenance as prevention.
Endurance sports generally have a repetitive motion to them. This creates a large number of movement repetitions in a limited range of motion, while under stress. As a result, muscles that stretch in other directions tighten up. This shortening can cause joints to move in less than optimal ways, causing injury. Stretching can alleviate this, if done with proper frequency and duration. A very popular prevention idea is yoga, as it can give you both the frequency and duration. But what if you’ve barely got enough time for your chosen activity, and not enough for yoga?
Hot yoga is a popular idea, increasing the temperature of the room to the point of sweating to add in the stretching process. As running generally makes people sweat a lot, I concluded long ago that after running was the perfect time for ten minutes of hot yoga. As a result, I decided to budget the last ten minutes of my exercise time for stretching. If I do this 6 days a week, I’ve managed a full hour of yoga each week. This basically is a matter of doing six workouts a week, and getting a seventh for free.