A Fitness Conditioning Program That Will Help You Get Ready For This Season’s Sports
A four-part series of fitness articles to condition your body for this season’s activities
Developing the Cardiovascular Endurance Component
(First 8-12 Weeks)
Developing the Stretching Component
Whether you ski, swim, play basketball or bike, a good overall conditioning program will enable you to have a safer, stronger and more enjoyable sports season.
A sound conditioning program should include cardiovascular endurance training, strength training, interval training (anaerobic), agility activities and of course stretching. When developing your conditioning program however, remember to adapt it to your fitness level. Therefore, it is important for sedentary, unconditioned individuals to consult their primary care physician prior to engaging in any exercise program and to start with cardiovascular conditioning and stretching for the first 8-12 weeks of training. Participation in strength training, interval training, and agility activities that follow – without a proper cardiovascular endurance base – could lead to an individual injuring him or herself.
It is important to make a realistic assessment of your own fitness level first when considering the following training activities. If you feel that your existing cardiovascular conditioning is moderate or above, then weight training will probably be a safe and effective addition to your program. Only after a strength conditioning program of 6-8 weeks is achieved should you consider starting the anaerobic interval training and agility activities (these are sport specific to skiers).
Despite the fact that some of our activities do not require high levels of aerobic endurance, it is important to develop this energy system for many reasons:
The keys to a cardiovascular conditioning program are noted in the FITT principle:
Aerobic exercise (with oxygen): An activity is considered aerobic if it:
- Uses the large muscle groups (i.e. legs )
- Is rhythmic in nature
- Is sustained for a prolonged period of time
A minimum of 20-60 minutes
Popular activities that will develop this component include walking, cycling, jogging, swimming, rowing, Stairmaster, cross-country skiing and aerobic classes. No one activity is better or worse than another, so choose the one(s) you enjoy the best.
A regular stretching program incorporated into your already existing workout, may help reduce the risk of injury, relieve muscle tension, maintain or improve range of motion in the joints and improve overall body awareness.
Tips to remember when performing your stretches: