Don’t let chronic pain keep Dad from playing the sports he loves

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No matter if the dad in your life is a regular athlete or a once-a-year 5K racer, the discomfort associated with sports injuries can make playing his favorite game difficult. But there is hope.

In honor of Father’s Day, we found the best fitness tips and apps to help men get and stay in shape no matter their pain condition.

Maintenance is key. As far as training with pain, first and foremost you need to treat your body as you would a car,” said Adam Schepps, a San Diego-based multisport coach and personal trainer with Breakaway Training and Rancho Valencia.

Regular scheduled maintenance such as getting massages and acupuncture and visiting the chiropractor will help keep everything running as smoothly as possible, Schepps said. I’ve seen people spend thousands of dollars on the best bikes, golf clubs, and tennis racquets, but not a dime on their actual bodies. That would be like spending money on a great stereo or a new paint job but never changing the oil or timing belts. You’ll only get so far before things break down.

Be strong and flexible. It can actually be dangerous if you are only one of the two, he said. Being extremely flexible can put your body into compromising positions if you don’t have the strength to support it. And being very strong but not flexible can result in having tight muscles and limited range of motion. Strength and flexibility must go hand in hand.”

Proper form is one of the best ways to prevent pain. Many times, all we need to do is take a step back and look at the underlying biomechanics and make sure we aren’t working against ourselves and forcing the body into strange or awkward positions, Schepps said. Something as simple as a proper bike fit can solve all sorts of cycling pain. Same thing for running, golf, tennis, or any sport. Seek a trained professional to evaluate your form and help correct any flaws.

When it comes to specific forms of pain, Schepps advises the following:

Back pain: A lot of low-back pain comes from tight hamstrings and weak abdominals, according to Schepps.In addition to focusing on strengthening the back, I would focus on lengthening and strengthening the hamstrings via standing hamstring stretches, stretches with bands while lying on your back, and also basic strength exercises like opposite leg/arm extensions and raises while on hands and knees.

Knee pain: Because tightness in the quads and calves can cause this, Schepps recommends stretches, as well as strengthening exercises like squats and lunges. But with existing knee pain, you need to be especially careful with form. Never let your knees travel in front of your toes, and keep the weight and push coming through the heels.

Neck injury: The neck for many people can be very fickle and can originate from a whole slew of sources, including the shoulders, traps, and even stress, Schepps said. I would work to gain mobility through soft stretches and range-of-motion exercises, such as careful turns side-to-side [think of shaking the head no], up and down [nodding yes] and dropping your ear to your shoulder.

Arthritis: Exercise has been shown to help by strengthening muscles around joints and maintaining bone strength. Schepps recommends low-impact aerobic activities like cycling or swimming as smart options.

If your father has an iPhone, check out these exercise & pain condition apps designed to help him get in shape.

Dads can keep their abs strong with the Daily Ab Workout’s 5- to 10-minute core-sculpting exercises, all developed by a certified personal trainer.Getting flexible is easier with Simply Yoga, which has 30-plus routines and video demonstration for each pose.Challenge your dad to gain upper body strength with Hundred Pushups six-week training program app. If he needs a full-body workout, he can try the Two Hundred Situps, Two Hundred Squats and Twenty Chinup apps.Named the No. 1 iPhone app for Father’s Day by CNN, Golfcard Classic features a range finder, scorecard, valuable scoring stats, and the USGA Handicap Index. But it also provides side games and a Club Bag feature that allows dads to keep track of average club distances.Whether training for a 5K, 10K, or half- or full marathon, runners swear by RunKeeper. This feature-rich app enables GPS tracking, distance, speed monitoring, caloric output, and activity history. He can use it just for running or for other sports, including cycling, hiking, skiing, and swimming.Learn how to reduce low back and hip pain, including sciatica, herniations, and degenerative joint disease, with stretchawaymusclepain.com, which also include apps for relieving neck, arm, and leg pain.

Find out what affect daily activities have on arthritis pain with TRACK + REACT. The app lets users identify trends over time in the Arthritis Impact graph, and it provides advice and tips from Arthritis Foundation experts.

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