One of the most exciting moments in many races is the applause for the last person to cross the finish line. The one who has been for several kilometers feeling the breath of the broom car in the neck. The one who arrives hours after the trophy delivery, without an audience and seconds before the operators start to dismantle the whole racket. Why so much noise? Because, even if it closes the classification, it has already been above those who haven’t even tried it. Are you ashamed to be the worst in the competition? Are you afraid to fail? Know that overcoming challenges is in your DNA.
“The human being was created to move, not to stop when faced with difficulties. It is not necessary to be the best, but to reach your best version. When you start in a sport, all the mechanisms of overcoming are activated until you reach your maximum potential. You have to overcome the fear of not being able, of falling, of not arriving. Assume that you can fail. Then, with practice, the defects will be polished. And that path to the best version of yourself is what counts. Your body will experience improvements in cardiovascular fitness, strength, endurance or elasticity. And those advances in the physical have their reflection in the mental and even in the social. The goal of the human being is to go one step further each day. And that always involves movement, not sitting around watching life go by out of fear or neglect,” says Sports Domain Lab. Want a good rosary of reasons why it’s good to do sport, even if it’s the most denied? Take note and get to work.
Football to burn calories
Don’t confuse sports performance with muscle work. It is one thing not to score goals with the skill of a Christian or a Messi, and another that their legs do not have the same muscle groups as those of the cracks. Generally speaking, in a first division goal the same muscle groups come into play as in a pachanga of singles against married: the quadriceps, hamstrings and buttocks. And if you run too low to defend, you’ll be squeezing your heart muscle. It is estimated that a football player (except the goalkeeper) can run up to 10 km in the 90 minutes of the match. 9.1 in the case of referees. And the calorie expenditure, as soon as it is delivered, will exceed 700 calories. Score or do not score goals.
With the data in hand, do not be shy and throw. “When you start a sport and see that you’re not the best in the class, you tend to get overwhelmed, to want to do more than your own body allows, whether it’s lifting more weight, running more or undertaking asanas – yogic postures – for which a lot of practice is required. That the one next to him in crossfit lifts 10 kgs, so I, 20′. Or, quite the opposite: he retreats thinking that ‘it’s not for me’. And it’s not like that. Everyone should go at their own pace and level,” says Antonio Lopez, coach and director of Saludando, and remember that it is normal that the next day there are stiff muscles, “that indicates that muscle has been working. There will be time to improve.
Swimming to improve the aerobic part
You’re a consummate runner. A marathon of tomo y lomo. In the water, on the other hand, does not pass the style perrete level survival. That’s why he escapes from the pool and runs almost every day. Badly done. He is always overusing the same joints and runs the risk of injuring himself. It’s time to combine racing with other sports: cross-training.
“Changing a day of miles of asphalt – days when you don’t put miles of quality, like the series – for swimming will allow you to keep advancing in the aerobic part but without crushing your knees. With the advantage that it also strengthens the upper train, one of the weak points of the runners and fundamental to drive, especially on the slopes,” explains Ruben Gadea, coach and director of Sanus Vitae. Overcome panic (or modesty) in the swimming pool, the meager competition swimsuit and the bathing cap. Go swimming. For your relief, you’ll find that every visit to the pool will seem more bearable.
Another option: dust off your bike and go pedal. “Running involves a lot of posterior musculature (hamstrings and soles). Also the plantar fascias, knee and Achilles tendon. With the bicycle, on the other hand, you work a lot on the quadriceps. And you can see that, for example, when a trail has very steep descents.
Body pump’ for more effective workouts
Do you like paella? Imagine that they put it on every day. You will end up hating it or, as a lesser evil, not taking away your taste. Something similar happens to the organism: if you always train in the same way, you will stagnate. “If you always do the same exercise routine, you will notice the changes and improve at first. But after a few weeks, it’s no longer effective. The muscle gets used to it and there is no improvement. And the deficiencies of other muscle groups are even more noticeable,” says Fer González, deputy director of Arsenal Femenino Madrid.
Anything that alters the routine will do you good. “Let’s say someone focuses on the Zumba. He will have a strong heart, but he lacks muscle tone. Why not alternate with body pump? No matter how well you do it, you’ll be putting a load on your biceps, your pectorals or your buttocks. Or for an hour of paddle: we stimulate the cardiovascular system while working on flexibility and reflexes.
Beach volleyball to get out of the comfort zone
One of the first advantages of practicing a sport where one does not look strong, nor is expected to be strong, is that it serves as a learning tool to manage stress situations. Take it as an opportunity to catch your breath in the process of concentrating. Let’s say, for example, that they propose you to play beach volleyball for the first time. According to the theory of the Flow, of the psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihály, they have just taken him out of his comfort zone. Anxiety and even frustration about being your team’s ‘package’ will take hold of you.
Take it as a challenge, focus on the game and recap which of your skills in other sports can help you save the situation. Has a hostile crowd formed? Memorize the negative feelings for your future competitions and try to turn a deaf ear, as if you were going to take a penalty kick with the whole stands against you.
“When anxiety surpasses the athlete’s skills, the athlete may feel vulnerable to social evaluation,” explain French scientists who have devised a robotic model that simulates external factors that can weaken the athlete and help create defense mechanisms. You will see how, following Csíkszentmihály’s speech, it begins to flow. It will end with a rush of adrenaline, happy to have completed the challenge and with a phobia overcome.
Ultimate frisbee’ as a substitute for crossfit
There are sports that require accurate movements, aim and speed. For example, the ‘Ultimate Frisbee’, a hybrid between football, basketball and rugby, where the ball is replaced by a flying disc. The game consists of getting the disc to the opposite end of the field, passing it on to the teammates. Try it. You’ll see how hitting the reception is harder than it sounds.
You will have to run, stretch your arm as if there were no tomorrow, jump, bend your knees and speed up your fingers to catch the disc fiercely. The good news is that if you drop the disc too often, every time you have to bend over to pick it up from the floor, it counts as squats. More advantages? There is no referee, neither in flesh and blood nor in VAR format. Players regulate themselves, they force themselves not to cheat and to avoid unsporting behaviour.
Looking for the most difficult yet? Try the boomerang. There are modes of resistance (maximum receptions in 5 minutes), strength (MTA 100 or see who keeps the boomerang longer in the air on a 100-meter field) and distance (who throws it farther away). In other words, if you give life, it counts as a ‘crossfit’ session. I may not be able to catch the gadget, but jumps, runs, core turns (those oblique abdominals will be reinforced) and arm lifts also count.
Skating to exercise the brain
In order to improve your sports practice, you will not only need capable muscles. Also an optimized control center. There are several studies in the gray matter that show that working hard to achieve motor excellence (for example, in basketball or golf), also produces an increase in volume in the brain areas involved. Have you been proposed to learn to skate? Say yes. South Korean scholars have come to the conclusion that professional skaters show greater plasticity in the right hemisphere of the cerebellum, the one in charge of balance and coordination.
Stretching to get years off your back
Sometimes, out of modesty, you don’t exercise where you know you don’t measure up. Stretching is often the Achilles heel for many athletes, even elite. “Not stretching your muscles every day gradually reduces your range of motion,” says personal trainer Marta Rosado, director of the Personal Center. “It also happens with the spine. We tend to sit spat on the couch and walk hunched over. If we don’t counteract those bad postures every day, the back deforms (chepa) and loses elasticity. Although your biological age is 30 years old, they can be quite a lot more if you are not flexible”. Think of the spine as the foundation of all sports.
Broomball’ for fun
Forget the competitive zeal. Park your obsession to associate exercise and michelin burning for a better moment. There are certain sports practices that are not included in the Olympic list nor are they likely to do so. But they are good for having a good time. There you have the broomball (a light version of ice hockey in which the stick is replaced by a broom and skates by sports shoes). Beyond the U.S. and Canada is an unknown practice.
Try playing with colleagues, without an ice rink, for example, on the asphalt of a street basketball court. Take it as a training of your explosive speed and upper train strength. Fun is assured. Do you feel ridiculous? Get it out of your head. Avon County in England is famous for its rolling cheese race, with hordes of locals running downhill after a four-kilogram cheese. It’s no nonsense: this practice will test your quadriceps. Do you feel lazy in your arms? Organize a wheelbarrow race and you’ll get steel triceps.
Paddle to increase the social circle
He just got to the summer apartment. A resulton residential complex, with swimming pool and paddle tennis court. You consider it a small sport, because tennis is your thing and the rest are substitutes. Tip: open your mind and let yourself be seduced by one of the few disciplines in which we Spaniards are a power (9 of the 10 best players in the world ranking are from this side of the Pyrenees, while in the top 10 men sneak another 4 here).
Ricardo Fernández, head of Head’s racket sports division, explains: “Many blocks of flats, as well as swimming pools, have paddle tennis courts. Neighbors who had never considered wielding a shovel, he gets the taste to meet with to play a game. Then, when they’re in position, they take a few reeds, talk about their things, forge friendships… and playing becomes a pleasant habit”.
Dancing to break down prejudices
A whole generation of men grew up with the idea that wiggling is a woman’s business. That a man made and straight at best has to dance the pasodoble. But times change and now they also aim to move the waist. Even sensually. Do you feel clumsy in that matter? Unbind yourself, move your body like a pop star and let yourself be carried away. That’s the grace of Sh’bam, a dance class with choreographers of famous video clips.
“In each session a few movements are worked on. If you don’t catch the first one, after a lot of repetitions, you end up getting caught. As it’s a non-stop, it’s 100% cardio and you burn about 500 calories per class. And the core is very powerful for torsions of the trunk or the game of hips,” says its technical director, Rachael Newsham. “There are kids who come into class very short. But with the relaxed atmosphere of the class they come up. And they like boys to come in. They think ‘if she moves her hips like that dancing, what she won’t do in the intimacy.
Goalball’ to develop other senses
Most sports depend on sight. You have to see where the ball comes from, where to put your arm, where to swim. The rest of the senses are usually anecdotal. The problem is when you don’t see where you step, where you catch yourself or where your hand is. Put yourself to the test. Do you want to learn to coordinate your movements with your ear, rather than with your eyesight? Try goalball. It is a cross between football and handball created for the visually impaired where you have to score with a 1,250 gram ball filled with bells. Put on the regulation blindfold, so you can see absolutely nothing, and let yourself be guided only by the auditory sensations of the ball and the tactiles of the rugged marks on the ground.