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Tune Up Your Body

Olivia Ekpone Nigerian Sprinter

Tune Up Your Body

     People sometimes refer to their body as a vehicle; it takes us from A to B just like a car. I agree with this for the most part, especially when it seems some people treat their bodies the same way they treat their automobile. They eat the cheapest food available whenever they feel a grumbling in their belly and only go to the doctor when they feel sick or broken. But the human body is very different from our metal means of transportation. Our bodies are a living, growing, ever-changing organism that can heal itself when given the proper tools (nutrients) and treatment. We don’t have interchangeable parts like an air filter or fan belt. Now, you may be thinking “well what about organ donors; my grandma just got a new kidney.” Those are what I like to call extenuating circumstances; we shouldn’t rely on others to give us the organs we need to survive when they start to fail us. We need to take responsibility for ourselves, including our actions, or lack thereof, and be more thoughtful with what we decide to put into our bodies.

 

The good news is, we can provide self-maintenance on our bodies to keep us in tip-top shape, and this maintenance goes beyond good nutrition and exercise. In the sports performance world athletes are always looking for an advantage to stay ahead of the competition. This may come in the form of staying on top of the latest training research or sports nutrition plans. But one thing I feel a lot of people continue to neglect is the quality of their soft tissues. Poor soft tissue quality can result in stiff joints, prolonged soreness from training and even injury. With the athletes I train, we make time before every session for tissue care, typically with some sort of ball or foam roller. You may have heard of self-myofascial release (SMR). When it is performed properly it can get muscles to relax, reduce scar tissue and even increase the range of motion in joints. Below you can find two of my favorites for the lower body targeting the Gluteus maximus and the quadriceps. These are simple and beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels. I suggest you give it a try, and you may find that your knees, hips and ankles will thank you in addition to your muscles.

 

Find 3-4 locations with tenderness and go through full range of motion (Bend knee as far as you can then straighten the knee all the way)

10-15 reps each location.

Stay off of your bones, muscles only!

Find 2-3 locations for the ball and go through full range of motion (Option A-bring knee to chest and rotate hip so that your knee drops to the ground then rotate back to the top. Option B- In the same starting position straighten your leg out in front then slide your foot back in towards your hips).

10-15 reps each location.

Stay off of your bones, muscles only!

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