There’s a multitude of sport aids out there on the market. Which ones are the best? Which ones are worth your money? What can be used everyday?
Which ones are worth your money?
I love my foam roller, it’s the poor man’s massage. I love it because the uses for it are endless. Every evening, I take about five minutes to roll out my legs and my upper body. I can even use it for areas that need a trigger point release or a pin and stretch. When I feel my IT band acting up, I can roll it out for a couple of days, stretch it out, strengthen, and I’m good to go.
Elastic resistance bands are another item that we love. Why do we love them? They’re inexpensive and they can be used over and over again for a variety of activities… so many activities. They can be used for outside hip strengthening, as a warm up for your legs or arms, and for shoulder/blade strengthening. They come in different colors, signifying how much resistance, and sizes for different uses. There are ones that are banded already, there are also strips that can be tied into bands, which can be adjusted, as loose or as tight as you need, based on your comfortability. They both can be utilized for different activities and I personally enjoy them both for various reasons.
Next on our top 5 must haves, is the jump rope. The jump rope provides the most bang for your buck. It’s perfect for on the go, it can be rolled up and put into a suitcase or a backpack for traveling. The general rule is that jumping rope is equivalent to the same amount of time spent running at a ten minute a mile pace. Here’s a challenge for your next cardio session, trade in your treadmill for the jump rope and switch it up! With a jump rope you can also do interval training, tempo changes, and even mix it up with different types of swings, there’s no limits when it comes to the jump rope.
The jump rope provides the most bang for your buck.
What’s light, can be packed up tightly, can be used in a small space, and can be used for upper body and lower body exercises? And no, it’s not a jump rope, that was last paragraph. You guessed it, an agility ladder. There’s a reason your coaches had you use them so much as an adolescent. An agility ladder can help you improve your timing, neuromuscular control, explosiveness, and ability to change directions. You can break it out in your yard, the garage, or even a hallway. It can be picked up and put away easily in your sports closet. I know you have one of these, and if you don’t, you should.
I know you have one of these, and if you don’t, you should.
Lastly, but definitely not the least… I thought long and hard about this; you should have a quality ice pack in your go bag. Guess what, active individuals get injured, they flare up; I know right. We work to prevent injuries, and do our recovery work (some better than others); but strains, aches, and pains happen. Having a quality ice pack around that can cover a joint 360 degrees, is large enough for the low back, and can help with recovery is priceless.
What are some of your top 5 must have items in your sports bag? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.
-Dr. Nick Schroeder, PT, DPT
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