Play Harder -- but do this first!
Playing is important. Lots of us live in the mountains so that we can do the sports we love, in the environment we’re crazy about. I moved to Colorado to ski. Being out in the fresh air, the snow, the rocky peaks… everything about it made me feel so much more alive than anything else.
Feeling alive is a priority. If you don’t feel alive, you feel dead. That’s no good.
When the lifestyle we love is a priority, other things have to fit in around it. Things like work, for example. Also health.
It’s really tempting to think that the category of life called “health” is simply taken care of with your play time. I know plenty of people who do their sports -- biking, climbing, skiing… and that’s their approach to health. They don’t go to a gym in addition to their outdoor activities. The outdoors is their gym.
There’s a problem with that, though.
If you live in the mountains, do you know someone who has had to deal in injury because of the sport they love? I do. Climbers with shoulder injuries. Skiers with hip or knee problems… there’s a ‘you play you pay’ mindset around it that says, ‘I played hard for years, so I had to pay my dues with this injury’.
So play is important -- but we have to do some training in addition to that play time. That training needs to include exercises that help the body be able to handle the stress of the activities we do. Stretching, stability, mobility and strengthening exercises can help us prevent injury during our ‘play time’ and can also lead to greater skill for our chosen activities.
Play harder -- but do some training first. Work your joints through their range of motion. Build up muscles around the socket joints (shoulder and hip). Stretch your muscles, tendons and ligaments. Balance your body through strengthening exercises. Train your reflexes and your coordination. You’ll be happy you did!