The reasons for failing to keep peak fitness and letting workouts go by the wayside have been legion this summer. It seems that I'm cashing them all in this week -- and just when I was trying to step up my routine for a competitive tennis tournament coming up in two weeks.
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The last time I was on a tennis team that qualified for district play-offs at Wintergreen, rain upset the schedule. It resulted in our having to play 3 matches on one day, or about 8 hours of tennis. By the end of the last match -- against opponents playing just their second match of the day -- my partner and I were wooden-legged and cramping. I vowed then that I wouldn't let lack of fitness affect a match outcome. That was 2 years ago.
So, over the past few weeks I was making myself endure the heat and get back to daily exercise, however moderate. I tell myself constantly that that's the key -- even if it's just walking or 20 minutes on the stationary bike -- that raising the heart rate for just a few minutes daily has a compounding effect. So I was getting up a little bit early to walk during the coolest part of the day, or waiting until dusk to take my bike out; and trying to play during the heat to get acclimated. I also increased the number of times I took to the tennis court.
Everything was on schedule until last Saturday morning when I overslept, rushed to my tennis game without warming up and felt the familiar tightening in my lower back. A pulled muscle. A painful reminder that everything's connected -- breathing hurt, laughing hurt more, standing up and sitting down brought grimaces. Ouch.
I dosed myself with Advil and decided I was going to beat this and played again. Big mistake. More days of feeling crippled. Some advised ice packs, others heat. I tried both. WHICH IS IT -- ICE OR HEAT? A few days rest and now I'm only feeling the occasional twinge. Whew.
Anyway, I'm hoping to get more info on training in this heat and smoke and avoiding further injury in our live Web chat at NOON, Wednesday, Aug. 17, when orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sean Hooker of Riverside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine will answer readers' questions. Be sure to tune in at www.dailypress.com or email your questions in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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