Hockey Resolutions for Fitness and Exercise
Hockey is a very popular sport in our Ebensburg community. Naturally, there are many of us who root for the Penguins – even when the team isn’t winning multiple Stanley Cups (and, as of this writing, there probably won’t be another championship banner going up for this season), there is still more than half the season to go, though!
No matter the level, we hope everyone who takes to the ice will stay safe. Some of the best ways to prepare your body for hockey—while reducing your risk for injury—include:
- Follow an appropriate stretching program. According to the American Council on Exercise, it only takes 5-10 minutes of light aerobic exercise and stretching to warm you up for physical activity and lower your injury risk. Even better than doing your pre-activity warmup and stretches is to stretch your feet and calf muscles every day.
- Perform skate work at least once per day before your season starts. Sure, any aerobic activity is going to have a certain degree of benefit, but ice skating is the best way to prepare. Now, even though inline skating might be similar in certain regards, actually being on the ice is even better. Skating in a rink like the North Central Recreation Center can improve your endurance and lung capacity.
- Hit the weight room. Strength training is important for both improved athletic performance and to protect your body from potential injury. Overtraining is a potential concern with weightlifting, so plan on three days of lifting per week, with one or two days of rest between them. You need to train both lower and upper body muscle groups – something you can achieve by using compound exercises (deadlifts, power cleans, squats, etc.). To avoid the risk of serious injury, make sure you do the exercises using proper form. (You will likely need to use lower weight while you perfect your technique!)
- Use bodyweight exercises. Besides using weights, do several sets of pushups, pullups, walking lunges, and other bodyweight exercises on your lifting days. This will help improve your flexibility, agility, and balance (all of which are essential for hockey).
- Adhere to a proper diet. For your body to perform at peak levels, it needs to have the raw materials necessary to build muscle and fuel recovery. There are two considerations when it comes to your dietary plan – making sure calorie intake is appropriate for caloric expenditure and fueling your body with the right foods. To the second point, eat plenty of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats, and fruits and veggies.
Keeping those respective areas in mind, you need to make sure you set SMART resolutions (or goals) if you want to achieve optimal results. Actually, this is true no matter if you want to accomplish something related to hockey, health, or pretty much any area of life. But why did we capitalize SMART? Well, because this is actually an acronym.
In this context, SMART means to set resolutions that are:
- Specific. A vague goal like “I want to play hockey better” is a good starting point, but how do you know if you actually achieve it? Now, if you are answering this question with something like “I’ll score more goals,” then that is more in line with what you actually want to achieve. Accordingly, you should then modify your resolution to something like “I want to score 10 more goals this season than I did last year.” (Keep this one in mind because we’ll be going back to it as the example to illustrate the following components of SMART.)
- Measurable. One of the best ways to ensure success in chasing a goal is to track your progress – which means your hockey resolutions should be measurable. In our example, how can you possibly measure “better” by itself? Again, you might say “Well, I’ll be scoring more goals.” By adjusting your resolution to “I want to score 10 more goals than I did last year,” you have something that can be easily tracked and measured.
- Attainable. Aiming for the stars is admirable, but it’s impossible to actually go to a star. (Plus, it’d be REALLY hot when you get there…) If your goals or resolutions are unattainable, it will only set you up for failure and frustration. As such, a 10-goal improvement—depending on your situation—might be a better target than a 70-goal improvement (even though your team would likely appreciate the extra 60 goals).
- Relevant. Even though specific goals are better than vague ones, they still need to line up with what you actually want to achieve. Our example illustrates this pretty well. You started out saying you want to play hockey better and have decided to score 10 more goals this season. Most would say this specific goal is playing hockey better – which means it’s absolutely relevant.
- Timebound. There’s a saying often attributed to Napoleon Hill that goes “a goal is a dream with a deadline.” Making your hockey goals and resolutions—or any goals or resolutions—timebound enables you to better focus on them. Without a deadline in mind, it is too easy to let dreams fall by the wayside. Additionally, the timebound component dovetails nicely with the measurable one as well.
At Premier Podiatry Group, we want you and/or your loved ones to have as much success as possible on the ice. More importantly, though, we hope you stay safe while doing so. Creating SMART resolutions from those aforementioned areas can serve to reduce injury risk.
Of course, it is impossible to completely remove injury risk from basically any physical activity. In the event you, your spouse, or any of your children sustain a foot or ankle injury on the ice—or anywhere else!—come see us at our Ebensburg office. We will assess the nature of the injury and then create a customized treatment plan to resolve it.
For more information, or to request an appointment, give us a call at (814) 472-2660.