Stretch into Spring with These Helpful Tips!

As BSSC’s spring sports season begins, we have injury prevention on our mind. After all, we need our athletes healthy to put up some good competition! That’s why we asked our partners at ProEx Physical Therapy to give us their top tips for staying healthy and injury-free this spring. Read on for more!

Spring is right around the corner! While the weather is getting nicer, that means it is time to get ready to return to outdoor activities. Many BSSC members will take to the fields  and courts around Boston this spring with recreational sports like softball, soccer and volleyball. As you begin to increase your outdoor activities, keep in mind that stretching can help prevent injuries and should always be a part of your fitness program and your pre-activity warm up routine.

Benefits of Stretching for Injury Prevention
– Preserve (or increase) joint range of motion and muscle length.ProEx Physical Therapy
– Prepare for physical activity and relief of muscle soreness after physical activity.
– Decrease muscle tightness and stiffness, resulting in greater mobility.
– Increase blood flow and nutrients to muscles.
– Rise in tissue/muscle temperature.
– Component of injury prevention and treatment.

ProEx Physical TherapyMake Your Stretches More Effective
Maintain a pain-free level while stretching.
– Listen to your body and respond accordingly by discontinuing your stretch if you feel pain.
– Warm-up prior to stretching. A light jog for 5-10 minutes will do.
– Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds and perform 3-4 repetitions.
– Stretch a variety of muscle groups that are utilized during the specific activity you are doing.
– Try to maintain a balanced position to avoid additional muscular tension, and breathe normal.
– When doing dynamic stretches, be careful not to force your joints into painful positions.

Static and Dynamic Stretches. What is the difference?
After a warm-up, and in the period prior to and after athletic participation, stretches should be performed. There are two different types of stretches. A static stretch is a slow and passive stretch targeting specific muscles, where a dynamic stretch is active movements. Typically both static and dynamic stretches can be performed before athletic activities but with more emphasis on dynamic. Examples of dynamic stretches are jumping jacks, body weight squats, and legs swings. A static stretch is the preference when you conclude your Stretchingworkout routine. Static stretches should be performed to each major muscle group for 3-4 repetitions, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds. It is imperative that you pay close attention to stretching all your major muscles that will be (or were) utilized during your activities.

Nipping Injuries in the Bud
Stretching properly before a workout can be extremely helpful in preventing injuries while playing sports. In the unfortunate event that you develop an injury, Physical Therapy is an option to aid in healing your injuries and return you back to your desired activities in a timely manner. Working with a Sports Medicine professional, such as a physical therapist, will assist you in resuming your desired level of sport activity. The main purpose of Physical Therapy after an injury will be to decrease pain and swelling, increase range of motion, function, and strength. Your physician can write you a prescription for PT which will be performed on average 2-3 times a week.

About ProEx Physical Therapy
ProEx Physical Therapy is a physical therapist owned private practice specializing in orthopedics and sports medicine. To find the location nearest to you, please visit www.PROexPT.com. or call 877-776-9843 for more information.

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BSSC Gives Back: A Guest Post from Cradles to Crayons

Each year, BSSC partners with a local non-profit that assists in improving the lives of children in the Greater Boston area.  This year, we’ve partnered with Cradles to Crayons, and we asked C2C staffer Jill Eid to write a guest blog post to introduce themselves to the BSSC community and shed some light on the great work they do there!

Cradles to Crayons Volunteer GroupMore than 305,000 children from newborn to age 12 are living in poverty stricken households in Massachusetts; each year, an estimated 100,000 Massachusetts children will experience the desperation of homelessness. Families are constantly forced to choose between necessities such as paying rent or buying a winter coat for their kids, buying groceries or purchasing notebooks for their child to take to school.

Cradles to Crayons volunteersThough these are some heavy numbers and hard statistics, Cradles to Crayons is just one of the hundreds of non-profits in Massachusetts addressing the needs of our community. And what exactly does this have to do with skiing, snowboarding, soccer, or softball?  Because in 2013, Cradles to Crayons is proud to be BSSC’s community partner!

What does it mean to be a community partner? It means that a portion of every BSSC membership fee will go towards supporting the children we serve.
Cradles to Crayons Citizens Bank Volunteer Group
So what do we do? Cradles to Crayons provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school or at play. We supply these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities that have with communities that need.
Cradles to Crayons BackpacksHow does it all work? Our process begins with collections of children’s items, held in neighborhood and corporate communities. Items collected are dropped off at the “Giving Factory” warehouse, where volunteers sort and inspect donations for only new or like-new items. Quality donations are packaged into personalized “KidPacks,” filled with clothing for a week, a coat, shoes, books, arts and crafts, and often birthday presents.

Where do KidPacks go? KidPacks are picked up and brought directly to children across MA, free of charge, through a registered network of social service partners.

How many kids do you help? In 2013, Cradles to Crayons anticipates providing more than 60,000 packages to children and engaging 30,000 volunteers.

How to get involved: You may be thinking, “I don’t have kid’s stuff to give away”, “I don’t know anyone with kids”. The good thing is, there are a number of ways you can still be involved.

1. Donate your time– BSSC’s members are just the kind of volunteers we love: individuals that are dedicated and passionate. We are always looking for volunteers to spend a few hours sorting and inspecting donations in our Giving Factory warehouse. It’s a ton of fun, and you truly are making an impact on the lives of children in your own community.

2. Donate your voice– the best way to tackle the issue of childhood poverty in MA is by spreading the word. Tell your neighbor, mom, dad, brother, sister, cube-mate, or pals- the list is endless. Tell them there are tangible ways to make a difference in their community and get them involved with us!

3. Donate your dollars –in order to keep serving kids, we need your support! Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated.

Cradles to Crayons with Wally the Green Monster
We hope through our partnership with the BSSC your love for skiing, travel, outdoor adventures, basketball, or whatever it may be, will grow to include a love of giving back to your community. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about getting involved in Cradles to Crayons please don’t hesitate to reach me at jill@cradlestocrayons.org.

Look for Cradles to Crayons staffers and donation bins at upcoming BSSC events throughout the year and visit www.cradlestocrayons.org for more information on this great organization and how you can get involved in upcoming volunteer opportunities!