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Ice Hockey Pre-Game Conditioning Routine Dear Player, Ice hockey is an extremely fast, physically demanding and aggressive sport. Over 2 million athletes compete in ice hockey throughout the world. The highest percentage of injuries are sustained in game situations. Proper training, including both stretching and strengthening are key to helping prevent injuries as well as improving skills, endurance, and power. Stiffness in the upper and lower body can hinder your skating abilities and decrease your speed. A loose upper body will help your passing, shooting, and skating skills. In fact, a relaxed upper body will help your overall body posture and alignment to correctly perform your power turns, quick starts, and sudden stops. Prior to stretching, the hockey player should perform 5 to 10 minutes of low intensity aerobic activity such as walking or riding a stationary bike. If rushed during the warm up phase before a game, skate a few laps and then stretch afterward. The purpose of the warm up period is to raise the body temperature slightly so that the musculoskeletal system will be better prepared to handle the demands of physical activity. Benefits of Stretching: Increase muscle flexibility Reduce muscle stiffness and rigidity Warm you up prior to participation in sport Enables you to move freer and use your muscles through a greater range of motion Helps you to relax and increase blood flow Helps to prevent injuries Correct Stretching Methods Hold your stretch to where you feel comfortable Don’t hold your breath Body position should not change while holding stretch (no bouncing) Do not hold stretch more than 30 seconds It is important to begin any exercise program at an intensity that is appropriate for you. Start slowly, if any of the exercises cause pain or discomfort, take time off from the activity. If the pain persists, seek out proper attention. It is advisable for men over 40 and woman over 50 to have a physical examination and a maximal exercise test prior to starting a vigorous exercise program. Players should also undertake a proper strengthening and endurance training program if you wish to improve skills and avoid injuries. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot play yourself into shape. A proper program will only take 45 minutes a day 3 times a week. BASIC FIRST AID Most injuries sustained during the game will be minor but nevertheless, should be treated properly to avoid becoming chronic. When an injury occurs, remember the basic rule RICE. R - Rest I - Ice C - Compression E - Elevation Ice: when icing use either a cold pack or a bag of ice put a thin cloth i.e. J-Cloth in between the ice source and the skin to avoid skin damage. place over injured area - initially it will feel cold, then you will feel a burning sensation then it will go numb. After it goes numb, remove ice and wait about 5 to 10 minutes and then repeat. Try to do this as often as possible. If pain gets worse or persists , seek out proper attention. USE ICE (up to 72 hrs. After injury): Inflammation accompanies pain, think of inflammation as similar to a sunburn. Would you put heat on a sunburn? - No! Compression: put tensor bandage around injured region i.e. ankle when you are not icing injury. helps to decrease inflammation and improve stability. Elevation: try to elevate the injured area above the heart i.e. ankle injury - lie down, place leg on a couple of pillows Nutrition Nutrition forms the foundation of an athlete’s training program. Poor nutrition may compromise any gains in performance achieved via a proper training program. During high-intensity exercise the primary energy source is carbohydrates. To enhance energy utilization and recovery from high-intensity intermittent exercise, nutritional strategies should focus on the following components. Eat foods with a low-glycemic rating (GI rating). Low GI foods release energy into circulation slowly thereby making sure there are energy reserves for the whole game. Foods should be consumed 1-2 hours prior to exercise. The athlete should drink 5ml/kg body mass of water (2 cups for a 75kg athlete) an hour before exercise to maintain hydration. Pre-event Meals (300-600 kcal) Yogurt, whole wheat or rye bagel, cream cheese Granola bar, peanuts, unsweetened juice Apple slice with peanut butter, unsweetened juice Graham crackers, whipped cream cheese, orange/pear, juice Fig newtons, plums/cherries, juice Cottage cheese, grapes/peaches, juice if exercise prolonged for more than 1 hour - drink 600-1000ml of solution containing 4-10% carbohydrate/hr (i.e. Gatorade, other sports drinks) Dr. Michael R. Vilkas B.Sc.,D.C. If you are interested in any more information please contact Dr. Vilkas at
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