Tag Archives: fitness

Callouts 2014-15

A belated “Welcome Back” to all of you! By now you’re all grooved in at Harrison, your schedule a routine that you’ve already memorized. Now that you’re all settled in, we can turn our attention to fencing! In case you didn’t catch the news on Facebook, we’re going to start our practices next month.

We  will have official callouts on Tuesday, October 7, one in the morning during your activity period (9:06-9:31) and one after school starting at 3:00. Be ready to practice during the afternoon session. I am working on the format for the demo, so I may ask one or two of you to do a demonstration for the callouts. So if you haven’t been fencing during the off-season, dust off your equipment and get started! Footwork is always the best place to start.

As an added note, we will be using a new app, Teamapp, for club/team communications. This app is free, and can be used on iOS and Android devices. For those of you who prefer to use a desktop interface, the app is also available via the Internet. I encourage each of you to get signed up if you haven’t already done so, and to get your parents/guardians on the app as well. We’ll discuss this in more detail at the next meeting.

5364-a7543fd94ae9b3595e2ae956a575703c2172163e

Sign up at HHSFC’s Teamapp (HHSFC members and supporters only)

Advertisements

Dynamic Stretching for Improved Performance

dynamicroutinemar200What is dynamic stretching?
The short definition of dynamic stretching is “stretching as you are moving.” The opposite of dynamic stretching is static stretching, such as reaching down to touch your toes and holding for many seconds.

Recent research in sports movement and kinesiology has changed the way athletes warm up and prepare for training and competition. Athletes still stretch but they no longer stretch cold muscles. Just about every athletic team in the country, from little league to professional sports, performs dynamic stretching before exercising. Watching the athletes warm up at the Sabre World Cup in Chicago was fascinating! Their warm up routines were specific but simple to perform.

Now for the long answer… Dynamic stretching is active movements of muscle that bring forth a stretch but are not held in the end position. This is an excellent full body warm-up done prior to any type of intense activity, whether you’re about to play sports or lift weights. Dynamic stretching will be beneficial to your performance and will set you up for the training or competition ahead.

If you’re asking why this is critical and important, here’s the science: Your body has many mechanisms that need to be activated and stimulated.  When you put your body through a series of stretches while in motion, it sends signals from the brain to the muscle fibers and connective tissues in that area to prepare to do work.  Your body’s temperature begins to rise and blood is pumped to the working areas of the body.  Getting good blood flow to the area of the working muscles is very critical in order to supply the area with energy needed to do work.  Along with getting proper blood flow to the working area, the muscle fibers and connective tissues will gain more flexibility and range of motion.  Many studies have shown that dynamic stretching can help increase power, improve flexibility, and increase your range of motion.

In other words, by doing dynamic stretching after your warm-up and before your workout, you are going to feel stronger and work up to a greater demand on your strength and endurance. Your range of motion and flexibility will also be greater. Another point to remember is that dynamic movements are sport-specific, or tailored for your sport, and in our case that sport is fencing.

For additional information on dynamic stretching, read the article on WebMD, New Ideas on Proper Stretching Techniques (http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/new-ideas-on-proper-stretching-techniques).

An Aspect of Safety

Seeing as we are now starting a very early flu season, we are all at risk of doing serious damage to ourselves. As we’ve watched 7 people in Indiana die from the flu due to immune deficiency, we all have to understand what risk we are at. A study of the effects of athletic activity and immune response has shown that our body is weakened internally for weeks after serious strain on our bodies.

http://jap.physiology.org/content/103/2/693.long

To combat this, I recommend we all be sure to have plenty of citrus fruits and watch sugar intakes. I am battling something and I am bogged down nightly trying to make it to school the next day. I am working out a small pre-practice  warmup and exercise regimen to help us reach physical fitness and approach full potential.

As for basic physical ailments, my knee is seriously messed up. My kneecap hovering on a joint of fluids and cartilage, tendons, and muscles has been fractured every so slightly because of my failure to warm up and protect this valuable joint. This made it impossible to put a shoe on today and I am wearing a knee brace as I speak. We should all take into account that we are not invincible and push ourselves to properly warm up and limber our joints so that I, or the next person, won’t be forced to sit and hope for a swift recovery.

So I ask at practices we take a fifteen to twenty minute period to follow me in a set of exercises intended to avoid the risk of destroying our bodies. I am not fond of pain, and I am especially not fond of seeing people in pain.

Keep it all in mind, and Lunge Hard.

Why Fencing?

Once in a while when talking with someone who is unfamiliar with the sport of fencing, I’ll get the question, “Why fencing?”

Not intending to be a wisecracker, my initial response usually would be, “Why not?”

There are dozens of way to stay active and to exercise, even hundreds. However, I’m one of those people who doesn’t enjoy exercising for the sake of exercising. I could never run just to run. I needed a soccer ball to chase after in order to run. I like to be mentally engaged in my physical activities, and if I happen to get physically fit in the process, so much the better!

Fencing improves flexibility, reflexes, speed and agility that provides a well-rounded form of mental and physical exercise essential for total health and wellness. Additionally, fencing promotes sportsmanship and fuels the desire to excel in different fields of life. A fencer is able to make quick and strategic decisions and has a better focus and level of concentration.

I could go on and on, but in the end you should find your own reasons and your own answer to the occasionally repetitive question “Why fencing?”