I was recently invited to present an information session to a group of enthusiastic sportswomen on stretching and injury prevention. Jo Homer run’s the Tri For Me camps and is a passionate advocate for triathlon and increasing women’s participation in activity. Jo has created a fantastic curriculum that provides plenty of motivation and skills for women who are looking to complete their first triathlon, or for the experienced triathlete to gain greater skills and knowledge to improve performance and enjoyment.The Tri for Me camps cater to diverse ages and experience levels, with women who participated ranging from 16-60 years of age, and from beginners to elite athletes. Other presenters on the day included Naturopath Sarah Baker who educated participants on nutrition, coach and elite Triathlete Jesse Featonby and Tri For Me Fitness staff presented on running, cycling and swimming techniques. The expertise and enthusiasm within this group of presenters was fantastic, and it was great to be a part of.The group of women were looking very energetic considering the early morning start (630am!!) and having already completed a run, cycling and swim session. The stretching component couldn’t have come at a better time!I covered the basics of stretching and why it is important for injury prevention and to enhance performance. The latter point definitely caught their attention! Overall the session went smoothly and the girls are well and truly on their way to becoming proficient at stretching!Stretching and it’s benefits have long been studied and debated among health professionals. What many studies are now finding is that if stretching is incorporated into your training program or weekly routine, it allows better flexibility through the muscles. Increased flexibility allows your joints to move through a greater range of motion, decreasing the risk of injury, but also allowing your muscles to work more efficiently. So when you’re out running/cycling/swimming the muscles are able to move your joints freely through their range conserving energy, allowing you to save energy for the extra distance or to move faster.When stretching is completed correctly the muscle fibres are elongated to their natural resting length, when this occurs stretching of the surrounding connective tissue also occurs. This results in realignment of muscle tissue and surrounding connective tissue which helps muscle function. Everyone of our diverse team of therapists at Osteohealth utilise stretching as part of their treatment and management protocols. It is a very effective, safe and simple form of self management that we encourage almost all our patients to use.It was a great program to be a part of. As an Exercise Scientist and Osteopath it was a pleasure to share my knowledge to a group of highly motivated triathletes and to help them understand the importance of stretching and injury prevention. So many performance benefits come from self management (stretching, strengthening, self massage) in EVERY sport, not just triathlon. Come in and chat to one of us at Osteohealth about what strategies you can adopt.
It was very exciting to see so many women keen on improving performance, and getting into sports that they may have initially found daunting or too hard to participate in. Keep up the great work and if you ever get a chance, check out the Tri For Me camps – I look forward to seeing you there!