As football (soccer) approaches the medals round in Rio 2016, Arthritis Olympic Village wants to share some tips on how to prevent injuries and build muscles in this sport. The first component is to observe your form while you warm up. It will help to record yourself warming up, such as jogging for a couple of meters.
Sports Without Injury suggest you observe the following:
- Watch to make sure your hip, knee and ankle are in a straight line.
- Don’t let your knee cave in or your feet whip out to the side.
- Don’t let your toes point toward each other.
- You may also want to learn to strike the ground with the front of your foot, but it’s important to build up your calf strength first.
- Shuffle sideways and run backwards and observe how you bend at the knees and hips
In the video above, former U.S. national midfielder Cobi Jones demonstrates proper backward and forward running form.
It is important for a football player to develop muscle strength in their quadriceps, hamstrings, hip muscles, gluteus and core muscles. These muscle groups will help protect your knees, ankles, groins, feet, calves, shins, Achilles tendons and everything below the waist.
Sports without Injury provide a good example of exercises you can do in the respective muscle.
- Hamstrings – This exercise, called the Nordic (or Russian) hamstring exercise not only strengthens the hamstrings, it strengthens their ability to do the eccentric contractions they make to balance the concentric contractions the quadriceps make.
- Core – An advantage of these core-building exercises is that they strengthen the muscles in the trunk without stressing the lower back.
- Hips – Hips move in multiple directions, and these exercises capture most of them.
Doing muscle strengthening exercises two or three times a week will make physical activity easier and more enjoyable. Please note not all of the above exercises may be suitable for someone living with arthritis. Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise treatment plan.