Stretching before doing sport - what do the experts say about that?
The #nabomade practice test: Stretching at the ski school and how ski instructors handle it
Dag! My name is Melanie van Kranen and I am the Marketing Director of the ‘alpincenter Bottrop’. Through this position of responsibility, it was a great pleasure for me to jointly plan a filming session with Farid Zitoun & Christian Rüger from Naturheilzentrum Bottrop (‘nabo’ for short) in our ski hall, and to be able to actively support them during the process. I was already familiar with the videos by the Bottrop-based YouTubers, and when I found out about the subject, I was immediately hooked on this joint lifestyle project. Because in addition to the enthusiasm for this project, healthy fun in the snow is, of course, also a topic that is close to the hearts of us here in management.
We pursue similar goals as the operator of several leisure and sports facilities. We want to support People in strengthening and maintaining their health here - with a lot of competence, experience, and humor. Accordingly, the filming session also incorporated these qualities. It was noticeable that the complementary-medicine practitioners, Zitoun and Rüger and their team have a lot of film and production experience, and routinely work in front of the camera. Many other promotional films, which we have shot here in the past, were sometimes significantly more complex.
Family network with almost 100 years of tradition
The alpincenter Bottrop has been part of the Van der Valk family business since 2004 and I have been on board for just as long. The special feature of the Van der Valk Group is that all the offices of the company – which is over 90 years old – are run by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the company founders. As the sister-in-law of Managing Director, Vincent van der Valk, I too belong to this multi-branched family dynasty.
Among other things, this special family and company history also inspired the naturopaths and local patriots, Farid Zitoun and Christian Rüger to consider the alpincenter bottrop as a filming location. Both of them attach great importance to tradition, reliability, family, good nutrition, and healthy sport-related activities. Their current video on the topic of "Stretching - what to do for more flexibility?" was filmed entirely at our alpincenter Bottrop.
The alternative-medicine practitioners asked me in the sports complex if stretching and ‘warming-up’ play a role in the alpincenter's skiing lessons. "Stretching is not without its controversies," said Christian Rüger from Bottrop’s naturopathic practice. "There are many myths that have sprung up around this type of gymnastics. That's why we want to take this opportunity to incorporate the opinions of professionals in addition to studies."
Stretching against the fear
Our ski instructors implement elements of stretching. However, this is not to warm up, but rather for mobility and anxiety reduction, as I was able to explain to the two managers of the Center for Integrative Medicine in Bottrop. It is important, especially for beginner skiers, to lose the feeling of unfamiliarity when skis are suddenly on your feet. This is done by slowly squatting (stretching and strengthening the thighs) or even raising a ski upward so that its tip points towards the ceiling of the hall. In the process, one Person or another will realize that he/she will probably no longer be able to do the splits in his/her lifetime. Some adult ski students find it hard to put their knees through this exercise.
Intentionally sitting down next to the skis to reduce the fear of falling and practicing getting up also stretches the hips and knees. In order to practice the correct sequence of movements, the ski students often begin with a stick in their hands, held diagonally in front of their chests. They should rotate the entire upper body in accordance with the swing of the ski, alternating to the left and to the right. This slight lateral stretching makes the upper body more flexible and supports the learning effect.
Better to warm up without stretching
It’s important to the ski instructors to warm up the body before the first ski runs. This is done by children through play. A snowball fight or riding a kick scooter, so they will be able to move along with just one buckled ski, achieve an action-packed and motivating effect. Of course, the latter also works well with adults. To do this, you can rotate your arms and your pulse will quickly reach the required level.
My three children have already had this experience. They have completed ski courses at alpincenter Bottrop twice and had a lot of fun. The so-called ‘Gaudi burger’ is also included in the warm-up program. All the little ski students throw themselves on the ski instructor here and form a pile of People on his back, before everyone laughingly disperses once again.
The fact that my children haven’t gone skiing more often with us, is not due to lack of enthusiasm. Since I live with my family in the Netherlands and commute to work in Germany, the distance is just too great to do it more often.
Science’s position on stretching
"The approach taken by the ski instructors fits in with the latest scientific findings," the naturopath, Farid Zitoun told me during our conversation. "Nowadays, it is said that it doesn’t make sense to stretch before doing sport because it does not protect against muscle pain or injury and, in turn, can even weaken the tone of the muscles."
In addition, a recent study could not provide proof that stretching after competitive sports promotes regeneration. Stretching, however, can increase flexibility and therefore also prevent pain, regardless of training sessions."
Ski piste with a 24% gradient where snow is assured
After the instruction and warm-up fun, you can then enjoy a ski run in the world's longest ski hall - at 640 meters in length. The special thing about our facility in Bottrop is the all-inclusive tickets. Unlimited use of buffet and drinks is included in the price every time you visit the ski hall. By the way, sitting cozily together after strenuous sports on the piste often results in a very simple stretching exercise: stretching out your legs under the table. That is my favorite stretching exercise.
Incidentally, I believe I can tell you at this point that Farid Zitoun & Christian Rüger are themselves active skiers and have been known to visit us after work. And - after the last clapperboard has sounded – both have enjoyed one ski run or another.
But what do you think of stretching? Are you enthusiastic about it? Does it do you good? Let us know your favorite exercises, as Farid Zitoun has done in the stretching video! We look forward to receiving your comments.
More about this topic of stretching/warm up and increasing mobility can be found in the news section of the Naturheilzentrum Bottrop website.