Now that the Major League baseball season is officially underway, thoughts of sitting down and watching a good game can become a reality. If there were only a way to limber up for those spring and summer outdoor activities while watching the game. Here are a few suggestions.
First, look at the tools you bring to the game. What does your favorite seating situation look like? Are there indentations in that sofa cushion or recliner seat? Do you sit with your buttocks lower than your knees, or do you slouch or lean way back to reach the back of the couch? To get primed for lasting through the game, a new seat may be in order.
Next, how well are you positioned in front of the TV? Do you have to turn your head a lot in either direction to face the TV screen? It is always best to position yourself in such a way as to minimize any twisting motion.
Now for the exercise portion. As always, check with your doctor first. My suggestions include: Every time you stand up from your seat to visit the refrigerator for some food or beverage, practice doing the “wave” by reaching up toward the ceiling with both hands and stretching as high as you can. Take 2-3 deep breaths from this position and on your last exhale, drop your arms down to your side.
Once you sit back down, you can do some leg strengthening exercises right there from your seat. First, straighten one knee while keeping the back of the thigh resting on the seat. You will feel the quadriceps or front thigh muscles contract. Hold the leg in this position and then pull the top of the foot toward you—you should feel your calf stretching, and the lower front of your leg muscles working. Hold this position for 5 seconds, and then switch and straighten your other knee out the same way. This is a good exercise to do for a timed period, such as four 30-second commercials. You will really feel your thighs working.
To work the opposing muscles—the back thigh muscles or hamstrings—you will need to get resistance from the bottom of the recliner or couch. Simply bend your knees and push the backs of your heels into the bottom of the couch or recliner while you sit. You should feel the back thigh muscles contract. You may also feel your gluts (buttock muscles) and quads (front thigh muscles) also contract, depending how hard you pull. Hold this for a count of 5 seconds and repeat for the length of a commercial. Remember, you should not continue with these exercises if you feel any pain.
For the seventh inning stretch, try this hamstring stretch by sitting on the floor with your back against the sofa or recliner bottom, and your buttocks as far back as possible. Can your knees rest comfortably on the floor, or do they pop up slightly? If you can’t get your knees to rest down on the floor, move your buttock away from the couch just far enough to relax the legs, but so that you can still feel a stretch in the hamstrings. Sit for about 30 seconds to allow a slow stretch. To increase the tension, loop a belt or towel around the balls of your feet. Pull gently on your feet to feel a stretch in the calves.
Now, when you’re finished with those exercises, it’s best to have someone on hand to bring you some refreshments, if you are too spent!