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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 1999-12-23

Healthy Habits for Sports Photographers v2.0
By Sam Mircovich, Reuters

Do you remember watching Jack LaLanne on the scratchy B&W television, or maybe "Body Buddies" during the 80's? Old Jack had a wealth of exercises to keep those housewives strong (or at least entertained). During the 80's it was "Body Buddies" picking up the LaLanne torch and adding sex. Needless to say it was a very popular show.

Jack always had that enthusiasm and always seemed to enjoy the exercise. That enjoyment level got a little scary with Body Buddies. Too perky, pre-Kathy Lee Gifford. But the message they were trying to sell (in addition to sex) was that they enjoyed the exercise. Attitude makes a big difference when it comes to protecting the bone muscle and ligaments so we can do our jobs with little pain. You have to find a path, your own
incentive, and the one thing that makes all the stretching and preventive care worth your while. Lock on it. Carry it.

Last time we covered ways to keep your back, abs shoulders and neck happy as u encounter the stresses of the job. Lets pick up with the other muscle groups that get a workout as we fight for that elusive sports moment. Remember that stretching is key for both the athlete and the photog in not getting injured. If you make a habit of tugging at those key muscles, maybe you won't end up on a stretcher after getting blindsided by a 300-pound gorilla running out of bounds.

Are you having a problem getting out of your camping chair courtside at the Staples Center? Maybe the knees creak from all that kneeling in the frosty winds at Candlestick. Ever twist your ankle on a slithering TV cable while running down the sidelines? Your legs have to propel you through all the twists and turns as you fight with your friends to beat them out of their papers the next morning. (OK maybe that's just a wire service thing)

Common problem areas are the joints of the legs, (Hip, knee ankle), strained calves and quadriceps, and sore asses from sitting on cold hardwood floors. As we get older, it tougher to pick ourselves up and get moving quickly. Some of us may develop the onset of arthritis, or need hip replacements. We may leave our owned sprained ankle untreated because we need a picture of the injured player.

Lets look at the joints of the leg. Healthy joints make happy photographers.

(DISCLAIMER: As stated before, consult a doctor before undertaking any type of fitness program. You should be having a yearly physical, in case ya have any hidden defects that only are revealed with old age-if you get hurt, contact Hanashiro to collect from the Sports Shooter libel fund.)

KNEE-DING JOINT CUSTODY
The knee joint works like a hinge to allow the leg to bend and straighten. The quadriceps is a group of four muscles on the front of the leg that works to straighten the leg from a bent position. And hamstring muscles run along the back of the leg from the hip to below the knee. The allow the leg to bend backwards (duh). The bones of the leg, the femur (upper) tibia (lower) and patella (kneecap) are connected by ligaments that all athletes know and fear their injury.

Don't think that u will never have a problem with your Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). All it would take is one bad twisting fall in the middle of a scrum. If you don't get trampled then you can look forward to months of rehab and maybe surgery. The ACL by the way limits rotation and the forward movement of the tibia. If you pop this one, it because momentum forced your leg to turn in a manner that would make the highlight shows.

Can you picture one day in the near future sports shows showing nothing but highlights of photographers getting creamed on the sidelines? OUCH! " There's Deion Sanders at the 20-15, forced out at the 10 yard line and his fall cushioned by a cameraman. Boy from the look at that hit I bet his career behind the lens is over. Lets see that from the opposite
angle...OUCH...Good thing that wasn't Deion. "

In addition, there are the medial, lateral, and posterior cruciate ligaments to worry about. They all counter-act the gravity of the moment to stabilize you so you wont fall down-go boom! So how do you take care of these regions?

As in the shoulders, the knee joint needs to be warmed up and strengthened before you attempt anything tougher, like a 300 pound squat (or throwing a 300 pound lineman off of you) Here are three good exercises that can help strengthen the knee.

BENT LEG RAISE
Try a bent leg raise, which strengthens the inner thigh to counterbalance the outer thigh pull. Sit in a chair and straighten one leg. Hold for one minute. Now lower the leg to a 45-degree angle and hold that for 30 sec. Rest leg and do four reps each leg.

STRAIGHT LEG RAISE
If you have two chairs, or a level surface of the same height, extend your leg resting your foot on the chair. Lift your leg a few inches and hold for 10 seconds. Keep adding time until you can repeat this movement for three minutes both legs.

KNEE FLEXION
Sitting in a chair, cross your feet. Apply opposite force to your feet with the rear leg keeping the front one from pushing. Switch legs and do three sets each.

WHAT IS HIP? (AND HOW CAN I BE?)
The hip is the largest weight bearing bone in your body. The joint is a ball and socket-type surrounded by cartilage, muscle and ligaments. The femoral head (ball) attaches to the socket of the pelvic bone to form the joint. Strong ligaments wrap the femoral head, forming a sleeve around the joints known as the joint capsule. These are known as Illio-femoral ligaments.

If you went through the health club craze in the 80's you probably remember those tortuous leg raise exercises that had you lifting, kicking and stretching, while you were on all fours on a sweat stained carpet. The neon lights of the disco-aerobic room blurred as you tossed your pretty mane from side to side, trying to look beautiful in your suffrage. Anyone remember that Travolta -Jaime Lee Curtis movie "Perfect"? Admit it, you only joined a gym to get a date.

Well those exercises are precisely the ones that strengthen the hip and upper leg. Fortunately, we don't have to do them to 130 beats per minute anymore. A more relaxed, low impact method is preferable to achieve the same goals. And again, a lot of these can be done in the privacy of your hotel room. While you are watching some dirty movie on HBO. We don't want to see this on the sidelines during the Rose Bowl.

HIP FLEXOR STRETCH
Step forward with your left leg (about a shoulder's width), and--keeping your left foot flat on the ground--lower your right knee so that your knee and toe rest on the ground. Your left (forward) knee should be directly above your left ankle. Gently lower your right (rear) hip, until you feel a gentle stretching sensation in the front of the hip. Hold for 15-30
seconds, then switch legs and repeat. A variation is to do a walking lunge. Repeat the above, making your way across your hotel room. If you have the aforementioned heavy blunt objects (see previous article) then carry them as you make your way around the room. If you don't have enough room then make your boss pop for a suite next time. Either way, the people in the room below may think your having a party and might come by for a visit.

TRUNK TWIST STRETCH
This improves flexibility of your lower-back, outer-hip and abdominal muscles. Sit up straight. Place your right foot on the floor outside your left knee. Gently rotate your upper body as shown, extending the stretch into your hip and lower back. Your neck should comfortably rotate with your shoulders to further this stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

HIP ABDUCTOR
This is the same exercise you did on the sweaty gym floor back in the 80's. Lie on your side and slowly lift your straightened leg 8-10 inches. Do 20 of these at a moderate pace. Roll over and do the other side, three sets each side. Variation of this would be to lie on your bed or floor, lift your legs 8-12 inches off the ground, then open and close them like a pair of scissors. Again, do 10-15 reps, three sets.

In addition, any low impact aerobic exercise like swimming or cycling is good for all leg joints. Even if you can't swim, you can grab onto the edge of the pool and do scissors kicks, which will also tone the muscle of the legs. If ya cant figure that one out, go rent an Ester Williams movie.

RANKLED ANKLES
So I am frantically searching the net looking for reference material so I can get something to Hanashiro before he gets back from SF. Found this tome to Tim Hardaway-kinda funny:

ANATOMY OF A FRACTURE.
From inbounds pass to ten second line
All sorts of bad thoughts will cross your mind
As you try to stay try to defend
It's not a matter of if, but simply of when
Crossover dribble or a stepback three
What does Tim Hardaway have planned for me?
Penetrate and dish, or a dipsy-do
Whatever he does you'll look like a fool!
As he brings the ball upcourt , You should contemplate
"Will I be the next victim of an 'Ankle Break'"?
Play maker, shot taker and, yes, ankle breaker
In my humble opinion there is no one greater
If you think in your mind
That the ball you will capture
Then take Tim's next class---"Anatomy of a Fracture"!
(c) Wikked
10 December 1998

So the bones of your legs have to connect somewhere, and that is at the Talus bone, which rests above the heel bone In the ankle joint, a sudden, quick movement may force the joint beyond its normal range of motion, causing a sprain. The ligaments are stretched and torn, and tissue around the injury becomes swollen and the skin discolored. In most cases, a
sprained joint will still function but can be painful to use. (DUH) Treat a sprain with RICE, preferably brown, made into a poultice and applied to the ankle (COME ON YOU DIDNT THINK I WAS SERIOUS?) Actually, RICE stands for REST, ICE, COMPRESSION AND ELEVATION

Ankle exercises are simple and are not too obvious; so people wont notice you doing them, you closet fitness enthusiast.

ANKLE ROTATION
Just point the toe, and rotate your ankle in both directions. Do both feet, you don't want to walk around in circles because one leg is stronger than the other is. You can do this anywhere, standing sitting, lying down. On the flight home as part of a stretching break or in the room when no one can hear those bones crack but you.

CALF RAISES
Good for the ankle because it strengthens the calf and shin muscles, which provide support (as well as producing shapelier, lovelier legs, see next month's article). Stand on a staircase, toes at edge, and lower your weight. Feel the stretch in your calves. Then slowly raise them until you are standing on your toes. Do the typical 3 sets, 10 reps. As you get
stronger, you can do them one leg at a time. When you get REAL good then you can do them at the gym under weight.

The shoes you wear play an important role in protecting the ankle. If you're on the turf, a pair of light boots, mid to high top, gives the ankle the support it needs as well as protect the toes. Sketchers make a pretty good pair, very comfortable. I like a boot that is not too rigid when new. Make sure your tennis shoes offer some kind of traction. I have a pair of
Reebok cross trainers that have a rubber cleat pattern on the bottom that tend to hold pretty well on the grass. But in the middle of a scrum, I would rather be stomping around in bootsrather than tennis shoes.

If you find yourself prone to ankle sprain, a support brace might help you out. I don't think any of us want to tape up like an athlete before the game, so opt for the Lycra brace.

That's it for now- next month we will check out the leg muscles and how they need your help to help you. Lets try to take better care of ourselves in the next millennium.

MERRY NEW YEAR!

(Sam Mircovich is a Southern California-based contract photographer for Reuters.)



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