Main Tips to Ride Mountain Bikes

One of the best way to learn related to bike is to ride it through mountains that is easy to perform if you are away of riding any bike on mountains. Best mountain bikes under 1000 are considered to be the best one for the beginners to learn and get use to of it. Mountain biking is very much helpful when you want to do something as an outdoor sporting and you go with friends for enjoyment. Also check for the (best mountain bikes under 500).

There are different ways to buy cheap bikes for your work to go and ride on mountains but you must learn the basic tips before going for mountain riding. Let’s discuss some useful tips that will help you to ride bicycle easily on mountains.

  • Tip no 1: Try to purchase brand new bike when going through mountains

Your first duty is to check for the right bike that any beginner must have so that he can easily bike his bike through mountains.  Stolen bike may cause trouble to those who are performing bike for the very first time as it won’t be easy to get through such problems. Brand new bike is also beneficial as it won’t let your bike get destroyed easily as it will be new so it won’t harm you. Learn more tips of the beginners that will guide you to ride bike on through the mountains.

  • Tip no. 2: Keep solid favorites that excites you during biking through mountains

This will differ from company to company and will be of different brands so it will help you to know what should be the best company for you to get the bike off. To learn about few of them is a good choice to know during hiking. Check for the best materials that you need to have when going through the mountains by bike. You should keep an eye on the latest models that are coming of the brand you like or of that you purchased already.  If you keep an eye on the latest models this will help you to know that how any bike is helpful and is used by other bikers

  • Tip no 3: What are the materials and accessories that can easily be replaced and which one can’t?

The beginner must know that what and when he needs to make changes in his bike that is useful for him to make. This is very important for the person or you can say beginner to make that will help you to know more about the parts of your bike.  Try to buy the parts that are cheap in rate and can be purchased easily from the near store. For ideally parts, do check for the websites that will also be helpful for you to get the proper guidance.  Also keep some parts as extra along with you like tire and such tools that you may need in emergency case and that will definitely help you to get benefit if you gets in any trouble during mountain biking.

Try next opportunity and wait for the right thing to come in the market rather than buying expensive products or tools for your bike.  This includes the sets of wheels, drive trains and many such types of equipment.

  • Tip no 4: check out the latest good deal for you that is available

Keep yourself prepared to have the right one for you that can be helpful for you to know about when going through bike riding on mountains. Check for more relevant articles on it that can help you to get more information.

  • Tip no 5: purchase bikes from near store

Always try to purchase your bikes that are near your store and near your home that will help you to go to the store whenever you need changes in your bike or when you are using it to go through the mountains.  Other than that you should keep other accessories along with you like camera so that you can take pictures of relevant views when travel through the mountains.

  • Tip no 6: focus on the classifieds properly

You should try to focus on the classified before going through mountains on bike. In winter the prices reduces and it is easy for you to purchase till that time.

  • Tip no 7: keep your bike neat and clean and tuned well

Always keep your bike maintained and tuned up so that it won’t stop working when you are going through mountains. So the best thing is to keep your bike neat every time. It is very easy for the beginners to check for the major starting tips so that you can learn and easily go on riding through the mountains. These were the easy general tips that every beginner must follow.

Mountain Bike Riding Tips

For someone new to mountain biking, it is wise to gather every bit of information that you can find about it so that you’ll know what needs to be done once you get out on the road. You can read more about how to choose the best mountain bikes under 1000 here. It is important for a beginner to follow certain safety rules to guide and protect you in case you face an obstacle or accident. You also need to know the different basic guidelines that every biker must do before riding. There are different tips and tricks that a newbie can learn that can be very useful on certain situation.

Safety measure

Better be safe than sorry as the popular saying goes. That is why it is important for a new biker to observe certain safety rules while biking. It is important that you familiarize yourself with the different things that you can use to protect yourself from harm. Some of the things you should consider on wearing on every ride include:

  • Helmet to protect your head
  • Sunglasses that will protect your eyes and give you clear vision
  • Elbow and knee padding when necessary
  • Proper outfit, lightweight shirt and padded pants

These things are often get taken for granted but it is very important because these items can sometimes safe you from life threatening situation. Besides the gears there’s also some important safety rules that you need to follow every time you ride. The following are the basic safety rules that you must put to heart:

  • Always ride on safe approved trails
  • Know your limits, never go beyond your control
  • Be alert and slow down when you face blind corners
  • Always bring important tools
  • Make detailed plan ahead

If you always follow this guide on every ride you will go, surely you will enjoy riding your bike without facing any possible danger. It is important that you are always prepared on whatever things that might come your way during your ride. It will be a good idea if you split your wallet for necessary accessories and use the best mountain bikes under 500 dollars, click here for more information.

Basic guideline

By now you probably have bought your bike and assuming that you have followed the right rules in buying the right sized bike you are ready to learn the basic guidelines before you can be ready to hit the road. Just follow these tips so that you can enjoy your ride without having to worry about possible accident or trouble that you might face while on terrain.

Going on mountain biking is a life changing kind of activity and you need to prepare yourself because it will surely take a lot from you. Increasing your stamina will help you perform well once you take on a long difficult route. You also need to be fit it is important that you have enough power to sustain your control and speed during your ride. There are some riders that even go as far as changing their whole diet just to maintain their weight and continue to be fit. Training regularly is also a very important factor that you need to do as a biker. This will help you become comfortable with your bike and also it will help you perform better when you are on a difficult bike ride. You need to try out different terrain especially if you are planning on going off road. This will help you know what necessary adjustment you need to do to continue have that control. It is also important that you monitor your speed. If you know just how much you are able to go and still have full control over your bike the better. This will come in handy when you face certain obstacle in your bike run.

Tips and tricks

There are several simple tricks that you can use and have been proven to be very handy in times of facing difficult terrain. It includes bunnyhop, wheelies and stopies. These kind of tricks are just easy to master that is why most of the riders know how to do these tricks. There are also some basic skills that you need to focus on developing as a newbie in mountain biking. This includes:

  • Braking technique in downhill
  • Uphill climbing technique
  • Speed
  • Overcoming obstacle

Once you are comfortable in using your bike it is safe to start learning a few useful tricks. There are instances that you might face certain obstacle that requires you to jump or you need to balance on your bike. If you are comfortable in doing certain tricks you can easily pass those obstacles. If you plan on going to mountain terrain it is important that you develop your skill in taking on uphill and downhill ride. Remember that if you lose control for just a second you might end up with some serious injury that probably would hinder you from riding again. So practice and do the necessary preparation so that you avoid getting injured in the process. Just give time to do it regularly so that you will learn to master these skills in no time.

There are a lot of people who are getting hooked into mountain biking because of all the benefits that this activity that they can get out of doing it. This is a fun way of getting healthy and also a good activity to bond with your friends and love ones. You will enjoy discovering new places in a different perspective. So just continue on practicing and keep on learning from the simple instruction guide that you can find. You can also ask some expert rider you know for advice and tips that can further help you with your ride. It is important that you continue to accept advice and tips from other more experienced riders that you know. They are the perfect person to give you very reliable tips and if possible if you can join their team in one of the ride they will plan. It is easy to learn it you can actually see how it should be done properly. And if it doesn’t work out the first try just continue on and never give up. You will soon enjoy mountain biking like a pro in any kind of terrain that you might face.


What is the abiding memory of the 1972 Munich Olympics? Nothing that happened on the track or in the swimming pool, but the fatal hostage-taking of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists. What will people associate with the 1994 World Cup in the United States? Alas, perhaps the sound of shots. Not shots at goal by the world’s best soccer players, but the gunshots that killed Andres Escobar outside a nightclub near Medellin, in Colombia.


This World Cup, now moving to its climax at the final between Italy and Brazil in Pasadena on July 17th, has had more than the usual share of off-field drama. It was bad enough that God abandoned Diego Maradona, theatrical Argentine superstar of the 1980s, seeking a return to glory after a cocaine scandal; Mr Maradona was expelled from the competition after testing positive for ephedrine, a banned stimulant. But the madness in Medellin made even that seem trivial.

Escobar’s blunder was to have accidentally kicked the ball into his own net, helping his much-fancied Colombia to a 2-1 defeat by the United States and to a surprising first-round exit from the competition. In a World Cup, such mistakes are magnified by the vast amount of national pride–and sometimes gambling money (at least $20m of it in Colombia’s case, on one estimate)–invested in a team’s performance. Mix that with Colombia’s drug-linked culture of violence and you have the makings of atrocity.

The power of football (which is, after English, perhaps the closest thing there is to a world language) translates such events into messages received and understood by hundreds of millions of people. So Colombians, who had hopes of seeing their country’s reputation soar through a World Cup triumph, now see this murderous image etched into minds the world over.

Politicians and businessmen know football’s power, and used the World Cup to sell a wide range of messages. In Haiti anti-sanctions propaganda from the military rulers flashed on screen during match broadcasts. American television marked the competition’s opening kick-off with a picture of a chocolate bar in a corner of the screen and the self-contradictory announcement: “This segment of the game is brought to you commercial-free by Snickers.”

  • As for the balance of power on the soccer field itself, too often cruelly bathed in 90-degree-plus midday heat to suit television schedules, the shifts were small but significant.
  • Attack succeeded in denting the depressing dominance of defence. The number of goals per game at the previous World Cup in Italy four years ago was 2.2, the lowest in the competition’s history.
  • This time the average after the semi-finals was back to 2.7. Firm refereeing helped, including a crackdown on vicious tackles from behind.
  • So did flashes of individual brilliance, such as Oleg Salenko’s record-breaking five goals in one game for Russia against Cameroon and Saeed Owairan’s dance through the Belgian defence to score for Saudi Arabia. But bolder rule changes would be needed to bring back the prolific goal-scoring of the World Cup’s early years.

Geographically, the balance of power moved away from Latin America: Brazil, though in the final, was the only non-European team to get into the last eight. Events also confirmed an emerging strength of soccer outside that old Euro-Latin American stronghold. Nigeria was unlucky to lose to Italy in extra time. Saudi Arabia did well. From Asia, South Korea nearly upset Germany.

The spread of soccer power must surely influence decisions on where to hold future competitions. Europe and the Americas have taken turns to play host so far. France will do it in 1998. But South Korea and Japan are pitching for the privilege in 2002.

Yet this was not to be the year of the big breakthrough for upstart soccer continents. The biggest surprise was that Bulgaria (no wins in five previous world cups) conquered Germany. Otherwise the old powers remained in charge. Nothing illustrates this better than the performance of the host country.

The United States had a team with more flair for hair-styles than goal-scoring (it managed only three goals in four games, and one of those was Escobar’s fateful miskick). But it had a solid defence, and the victory over Colombia sent it into the second round for the first time ever. Enter the dream match: a second-round game against the world’s most charismatic team, Brazil, on America’s national day, July 4th. Hitherto ho-hum Americans started to take an interest. President Bill Clinton telephoned the American players to wish them luck: “My daughter is a big soccer fan, so she’s making sure I understand what I see.” The stage was set for a historic upset.

It was not to be. A clearly superior Brazil won by a single goal – no disgrace to the United States, but an anti-climax. A nation evidently warming to soccer did not progress to full-blown soccer fever. Perhaps Mr Clinton got a sense of the real thing in Italy, where soccer temporarily up-staged the G7 summit.

Still, the television ratings in America were higher than expected. The July 4th game with Brazil was watched by about 32m Americans; a big audience, even if four times as many watch the Super Bowl. The size of the crowds smashed the World Cup record, set in Brazil in 1950, when the average attendance was nearly 61,000. The average in Italy in 1990 was 48,000. The average for the first two rounds this time was over 67,000.

Stamps Capture World Cup Soccer Extravaganzas

The World Cup soccer games are played every four years and the US will host the 1994 games. Countries that have been victorious in previous years issued stamps to commemorate their teams and athletes. One member of the US soccer team believes that soccer will become more popular in the US.

Your average U.S. sports fan probably does not know the names of the soccer players on the U.S. national team – but that is about to change with the countdown to World Cup U.S.A. ’94 heating up. Although soccer is the most-watched sport in the world, it has not yet become a mainstream attraction in the U.S.

From the viewpoint of the countless fans around the world, the World Soccer Federations could not have selected a better venue than the U.S.A., with its excellent hotel accomodations, reliable airlines connecting the 10 World Cup host cities where the 52 games will be played, and a superior telecommunications network.

Speaking on behalf of the U.S. national team, Alexie Lalas predicts a U.S. professional soccer league for 1995. Lalas – athletic, outgoing, a ready smile beaming from behind a neatly trimmed beard and mustache, runs a series of soccer camps for youngsters in the off-season, when he is not playing in the European League. Organized soccer could not have asked for a better role model for the many young boys and girls who play the sport on countless school and club teams throughout the country.

When soccer is played well, it is poetry in motion. “It is very hard to score a goal,” explains Lalas. “That is why fans and players alike erupt in near-frenzied excitement when finally a player drives the ball past the keeper to the back of the net.”

The first two sides to square off at World Cup U.S.A. ’94 will be Germany and Bolivia. Germany, 1990 World Cup champions, will face Bolivia at Soldier Field in Chicago on June 17, 1994. The second game of first-round playoffs on opening day will be contested in Dallas, TX between Spain and South Korea.

Thrilling as World Cup fever is for the two billion worldwide fans who will be watching the various matches on television, the soccer extravaganza comes only once every four years. Stamp collectors, though, can enjoy the excitement of World Cup soccer every time they open their album pages. Past tournaments, and the athletes who make the game come alive, have been commemorated on stamps by postal administrations from around the world.

World Cup Championship

Bulgaria, for example, issued a 13st denomination stamp in recognition of the 1962 World Cup Championship hosted by Chile. A bi-colered stamp, it depicts a player about to strike the ball, super-imposed over a green background that outlines the South American continent on a world globe. Fanatical about soccer, as are most Europeans and much of the world’s population for the matter, Bulgarian fans saw their squad survive the intense 1994 competition on the road to the U.S.A. The team will square off against Nigeria in Dallas on June 21.

  • One country that did not survive the obstacle-strewn road to the World Cup to defend its hard-earned reputation as a legitimate Rimet Cup contender was England. English squads have enjoyed a long string of World Cup glory days on the pitch and, in 1966, Britain issued a set of three stamps to commemorate the final World Cup match at Wembley Stadium.
  • It was a hotly contested game between the favored English and an all-powerful West German team. England prevailed with a final 4 to 2 score; but even today, soccer fans still argue about the British side’s questionable third goal that officials allowed to stand, and how that decision affected the final outcome of the match.

The hype and hoopla associated with the 1994 U.S. extravaganza will do much to advance the cause of soccer. Aimed at capturing the hearts of fans will be the theme song, “Gloryland,” especially written for World Cup U.S.A. ’94.

The catchy tune is expected to attract the imaginations of potential fans who are essential to the success of the professional league predicted by Lalas. If his dream for a viable soccer league by 1995 – which is shared by thousands of U.S. soccer enthusiasts – becomes a reality, American stamp collectors, who until now have had to satisfy their love for the game by leafing through the pages of their albums, will soon be able to join the two billion fans around the world to cheer on their own favorite team. And just perhaps they will see the poetry in motion that is world-class soccer.


How sports can help you win at life

When it comes to sports, what goes on in your mind definitely matters a lot. Your mind and your emotions play as essential a role in athletic activities as in other aspects of life. Think of how many emotions sports bring out–happiness, surprise, nervousness, fear, even anger. You feel frustrated when you let down your team and thrilled when you beat your best time. What’s more, the many hours spent practicing and trying to improve take emotional energy.

“Athletics provides an important emotional outlet for young people, especially during the school year when they’re stationary a lot of the time,”-says Harvey Dulberg, a Boston-based sports psychologist. “To enjoy the freedom to run, to work together on a team, to set and reach goals are enormously satisfying.”

He goes on to say that participating in sports helps build confidence and develop leadership skills. “It’s not surprising that the pitcher of the baseball team or captain of the soccer team becomes a leader down the road. They’re the ones who have enough self-confidence to take chances and put themselves out,” says Dulberg. Being a participant in sports also offers the chance to try things you may not have done before and teaches you how to roll with the punches. “There is always another game, another person up at bat,” he says. “You learn not to be so devastated when things don’t work out.”

Preparing for Life

Learning to deal with a range of emotions–everything from triumph to despair–is an important benefit of sports participation. Even uncomfortable feelings like anger and frustration are valuable if they help you develop a sense of what your strengths and weaknesses are. There is always going to be someone faster, better, or more skilled than you. The same is true in adult life. Whether you feel elated after a win or sad when others don’t share your victories, knowing how to respond appropriately can help you cope.

Sports serve as a model for life in other ways too. Working with others and putting aside personal goals help you gain interpersonal skills. What’s more, investing time and effort gives you a sense of belonging. Several studies have shown that young people who participate in athletics are less likely to suffer depression and low self-esteem. They may even have better social lives. “You have the chance to develop different kinds of friendships that often last longer than friendships formed outside of sports,” says Dulberg. “It’s almost like going to war together. It forges a common bond.”

Research also shows that athletic activity can help you to be a better student. Skills such as good sportsmanship, self-discipline, and working as part of a team carry over into the classroom and beyond. In sports you learn to take responsibility, to work for a common goal instead of concentrating only on yourself, and, especially, how to keep cool under pressure. Stress and anxiety, after all, are a natural part of all sports. It’s normal to feel excited–even motivated-by the tension and stress of athletics. When excitement becomes fear and nervousness, however, it changes from being a positive motivating force to one that leaves you distracted and prone to mistakes.

Such competitive stress is not limited to sports. It develops in academic, artistic, and other fields too. Still, says Dulberg, the chance to develop a sense of mastery makes going out for athletics worth it. “The fact that you can run faster, jump higher, or shoot baskets is tremendously gratifying. You see that you can accomplish something.” That’s important, especially considering how competitive school, career, and other aspects of our lives can be.

Going Head to Head

Many people view competition as a rivalry between opponents in which someone fails and the other succeeds. But competition that is only about winning and losing misses the point. Instead of comparing yourself to others and making winning your goal, try measuring your successes and failures in terms of yourself. Regardless of where you place in the standings, aim to do your best. In sports, and in life, you will always be your own toughest competitor. “The dedication, commitment, and hard work that goes into swimming laps or lifting weights is no different from the dedication and commitment that goes into being successful in life,” says Dulberg. “Besides, sports are also a whole lot of fun.”

Get Psyched! Here’s how:

  • Look on the bright side. Ban your negative thoughts–“I’m no good,” `I’ll never make it,” `I may as well give up.” Replace them with positive, enthusiastic ones–“I always give my best effort,” “I’m proud of what I’m doing,” “I will be successful.” Negative, pessimistic thoughts sap you of inner strength and program you for failure.
  • Have fun. You’ll naturally feel pumped up and energized.
  • Trust. Your thoughts can get inside your body and tighten your muscles. They can also rob you of your coordination, reflexes, and speed. Try to relax and let things unfold. Don’t think or analyze too much.
  • Concentrate. Catch yourself quickly when your attention starts to drift. Try not to zero in On things like your opponent’s skills, what your parents will think, or whether you’re going to win or lose. Put your efforts into doing your best. Winning will take care of itself.
  • Visualize. Experience success mentally before you test yourself physically. Practice seeing the outcome you want in your mind’s eye.
  • Chill out. Nobody likes to make mistakes, but you can’t learn without them. They make you better, if you listen to them and adjust accordingly. If you find yourself worrying too much about making mistakes, try thinking about something silly. Nutty, goofy thoughts have a weird way of making fear and anger evaporate.
  • Go for it. Call it nerve, heart, or spirit. No matter how tired you are, how lousy the weather, how many hours you’ve already put in, never lose your spunk. Remember, the difference between try and triumph is just oomph!

The Benefits of Being Buff

Corey Potter was 14 when he started lifting weights, hoping it might make him a better football player. “Strength training helps with flexibility, builds confidence, and prevents injuries,” he says. “It’s made me better in all sports, not just football.”

His sister Caitlin agrees. “Weight lifting gives me energy,” says the 15-year-old field hockey player and distance runner. “Lots of kids do it to stay healthy and because it makes you look fit. I started in seventh grade to get the edge in sports.”

Mark Lopez, a high school senior, says weight lifting is good because anybody can do it. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re into sports or not,” he says. “This activity lets anyone of any ability set a goal and reach it. Even when you have a bad day lifting, you still feel you’ve gained something.”

Whether your goal is to be a better athlete, improve your health, or build a buffer body, weight lifting is hot. Training with weights forces your muscles to work harder than they are used to. Muscles respond to the added stress by growing in size and strength. Having strong muscles means better balance and coordination. It also means you’ll be less likely to get hurt playing sports. Torn ligaments and tendons are often the result of weak muscles surrounding and protecting the joints. Working your muscles even stimulates your bones to grow and thicken. That’s especially important during adolescence, to help prevent brittle, weakened bones or osteoporosis later in life.

Risky Business

Still, training with weights can be risky. Growing bones are more prone to injury. Heavy lifting increases the chances of fracturing the growth plate at the ends of the bones. That’s why most experts recommend training with light weights, and doing a high number of repetitions. Building up gradually strengthens your muscles enough to handle heavier loads safely. This is especially true for the shoulders and lower back.

Choosing the right exercises is also important. Lunges, for example, work the same muscles as squats, but are less likely to cause strain. Remember, too, that muscles come in pairs that bend and straighten the joints, and that both need equal time in a muscle-strengthening workout. Concentrating only on your biceps at the front of your upper arms and neglecting your triceps at the back, for example, could result in an elbow injury when you take a bold swat at a tennis ball. Likewise, keeping your knees and ankles in shape for track or in-line skating means working both the quadricep muscles at the front of your legs and the hamstrings at the back.

Free Weights vs. Machines

Most weight-training programs involve either free weights, including dumbbells and barbells, or weight machines such as Nautilus. Machines are often recommended for beginners, since you don’t need as much coordination and it’s easier to learn the proper technique with them than with free weights. Machines may also be safer because the weights can’t wobble or come crashing down on you. When you’re sitting at a machine, your body is entirely supported so that only an isolated muscle in one part of your body is used.

Free weights, however, may give you a better whole-body workout. When you lift a dumbbell, for example, you not only use your arm and shoulder muscles, you also use your back, leg, and trunk muscles to stabilize your body and maintain your posture.

Pumping Iron Primer

Whatever method you choose, learning to do the exercise correctly is absolutely critical. “The most common mistake young people make is using improper technique,” says Keith Cinea, educational program and products coordinator at the National Strength and Conditioning Association in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He urges teens to get the advice of a certified instructor or trainer who is knowledgeable about how to use weights safely and effectively. “Most weight-lifting injuries result from doing the exercises incorrectly or from trying to lift weights that are too heavy.”

A coach or trainer can also help you design a program that meets your needs. Most programs include eight to 10 exercises focusing on the major muscle groups, two to three times a week. A single set of eight to 12 repetitions is a good place to start. Generally, you should lift a weight that’s heavy enough to make you feel tired after eight or nine lifts. “Doing several reps with light weights builds endurance,” says Cinea. “But if you are looking more for strength, you might want higher weights and fewer reps.”

Set realistic goals for what you think you can accomplish. “Too many teens are overly concerned with how much weight they can lift. The purpose of weight training is to build and improve your health, not to show everyone else how strong you are,” Cinea says. “Don’t get caught up in what someone else is doing.”

Weight Lifting do’s and dont’s

  • Don’t use machines that can’t be adjusted to your size, especially if you’re not very tall.
  • Do work with a spotter (someone who is able to critique what you’re doing), especially if you’re using free weights.
  • Don’t be tempted to build muscle by using steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs. They are linked to serious health problems including cancer and heart disease.
  • Do incorporate warm-up, cooldown, and stretching exercises in your routine.
  • Don’t rely on strength training as your only form of exercise. Get your heart and lungs pumping with running, biking, tennis, or other aerobic exercises at least three times a week.
  • Do work the largest muscles in your body first, including your legs, back, and chest.
  • Don’t forget to rest. Always take time between exercise sets and allow 48 hours between training sessions to recover.
  • Do lift and lower the weights slowly. Avoid fast, jerky motions.

Stretching to Stay in The Game: Picture a Linebacker Balancing on One Leg, Arms Extended, Like a Ballet Dancer

Laura had been running for 17 years when she decided to run in her first Boston Marathon. Things were going well until the 18-mile mark. “It wasn’t just that my energy was waning,” she says. “The back of one of my legs was starting to hurt too.” The 26-year-old athlete didn’t want to quit. As the pain got worse, she switched from running to alternating between running and walking. Soon she was mostly walking. By the time she hobbled across the finish line, Laura remembers her knee and leg were throbbing. “I was pretty miserable,” she says. “I had spent four months training. If I had only stretched better, I probably wouldn’t have pulled my hamstring.”

Laura learned a hard lesson. Stretching not only helps you perform your best, it’s the key to staying injury-free. Stretching before and after sports lengthens your muscles and increases the range of motion in your joints. That’s especially important in sports such as running, soccer, and cycling that can make your muscles hard and tight.

“Flexibility is probably the most neglected component of fitness,” says Barbara Luciano, a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer in Boston. “It’s a lot more important than many people realize.” She points out that younger athletes have looser, more supple muscles than older athletes. “As you age, you get less flexible,” she says. “The longer you stay flexible, the longer you can stay on top of your game.”

Stretching also improves posture. When your shoulder, stomach, and back muscles are strong and flexible, it’s easier to sit up straight and stand without slouching. Besides making you look more alert and confident, that makes you feel like a winner.

No Pain, No Gain? No Way!

Stretching is easy, but if it’s not done properly, it can do more harm than good. Before you stretch, do a few warm-up exercises. You should warm up first and then stretch your muscles, says Luciano. She recommends jogging slowly or marching in place to get your muscles ready to work. When you are ready to stretch, move slowly. Gently stretch to the point of tension. Then hold the stretch for 10 to 20 seconds.

“Don’t bounce,” says Luciano. “It strains your muscles and only makes them tighter.” Work both sides of your body equally. If you stretch or move your body in one direction, you should repeat it in the other direction too. Remember to breathe deeply and slowly. It’s easier to stretch when you’re relaxed.

Stretch the Muscles You Use Most

Most stretching routines don’t take more than 10 minutes. Different sports emphasize different muscles. Basketball players, for example, need strength and flexibility in their hips, calves, and thighs. There’s more stress on the hips because of all the twists and turns. “Generally, the muscles you need to stretch are the ones that you’re going to use the most,” says Luciano. For many young athletes, that means the calves, hamstrings, inner thighs, and quadriceps. Warming up the chest, shoulders, and upper body is also important if you play baseball or racquet sports.

There are several ways to stretch. Static stretching is the most common. In static stretching you get into a stretched position, hold it for a few seconds, and then relax. “The idea isn’t to see how far you can stretch,” says Luciano. “It’s to reduce tension and help your body move more asily. Stretching should never hurt.”

Easy full-body stretch

Here is a series of simple stretches that can be done almost anywhere, in street clothes, to shake out the stiffness prolonged sitting can cause.

Reach and rotate

Stand straight, reach arms upward as high as possible; twist at waist to right, then to left; repeat three times

Shoulder rolls

Let arms hang at sides; roll shoulders up and back three times; then roll forward three times

Hamstring stretch

Put leg on table or chair; bend other a little at knee; lean forward and stretch raised leg gently; hold 10 seconds; change sides

Backwards bend

Put hands on hips, bend knees slightly; bend backward with shoulders; hold 5 to 10 seconds; relax; repeat 3 to 5 times

Calf stretch

Stand facing wall with one leg behind the other; keeping knees straight, lean toward wall until you feel stretch in calf; hold 5 to 10 seconds; change sides

Five Stretches, Five Sports

Ready, set, stretch! Remember to warm up before you stretch.

Start with a full-body stretch. Lie face up on the floor and extend your arms and legs as far as you can. Point your fingers and toes out. Push your back toward the floor and tuck in your chin. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat three times.

  1. Running (Quadriceps): Hold onto something for balance. Pull your right heel back toward your right buttock (see photo). Keep your knee pointing to the ground. Repeat with other leg.
  2. Baseball (Shoulder): Extend one arm and grasp it above the elbow. Pull the arm toward your chest to stretch your shoulder and back.
  3. Basketball (Hip flexors and lower back): Lie on your back and draw your right knee toward your chest. Wrap you arms around the back of the knee and hug it to your chest. Repeat with other leg.
  4. Tennis and Other Racquet Sports (Shoulder muscles and chest): Hold the racquet behind you with both hands and twist from the waist up.
  5. Biking (Inner thigh): Sitting on floor, draw your soles together. Grab your ankles. Lean forward slightly to stretch your inner thighs and lower back.


Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of proper stretching techniques.


  • Describe some of the benefits of stretching properly. (Stretching is one of the most often overlooked components of a total fitness program. Most importantly, proper stretching helps to reduce the chance of injury. It allows active people to be more successful in their chosen area of physical activity. Stretching also allows you to improve and maintain good posture.)
  • Summarize some of the basic guidelines to healthy stretching. (Stretching should be preceded by a period of warming up. Good ways to do this are jogging or marching in place to prepare your muscles for being active. Your stretching should be done to the point of tension and held 10 to 20 seconds. You should breathe deeply and slowly while stretching, and work both sides of your body equally. Don’t bounce, because that may strain muscles and make them tighter.)


Ask a physical education teacher or local fitness instructor to discuss with your students the value and the proper structure of a stretching routine. If your health and physical education programs are fully integrated and ongoing during the same marking period, students may enjoy interacting for these sessions. Be sure to tell the students ahead of time to dress for the activities.

Going to Extremes-Safely (Part 2)

In-Line Skating

In-line skating may be the tamest of all the adventure sports, but it isn’t risk-free, especially among teens who do aggressive skating or street hockey. The most common injury is shattered wrists. Because skating is low-impact with virtually no pounding on the lower extremities, knee injuries common in runners are rarely seen in skaters. Skating develops hip and thigh muscles that are not exercised in running or cycling. It also conditions the heart and lungs and is relaxing.

In-line skaters need to be in good aerobic condition and have strong abdominal and back muscles and powerful legs. Proper protective gear, including a helmet, wrist guards, and knee pads, and lessons to learn the basics are equally important to maneuver through streets and trails without worrying about hills or curbs.

Still, you should never hop out of bed and strap on your skates cold. Walk to where you’ll skate, take a slow, smooth warm-up skate for a few minutes, then do your regular workout, says Secunda. Save your stretching until later when your muscles are loose and warmed up, paying special attention to your lower back and abdomen. Stretching these muscles boosts flexibility and control. The better control you have, the safer skater you’ll be.

Mountain Biking

No matter how long you’ve ridden I, a bike, nothing prepares you for riding off-road until you try it. “Off-road biking feels different and requires new skills,” says Secunda. Knowing how to brake on a hill or shift your weight back to keep your bike stable, for example, takes practice and persistence.

Although helmets and shock-absorbing bikes have made mountain biking more comfortable and easier than ever, no two rides are ever the same, even on a familiar trail. A lot depends on the type of terrain you explore. Some trails are flat and wide and safer than riding on the street, where you have to contend with pedestrians and traffic. Others are rougher. The key, according to Secunda, is picking a slightly more difficult trail each time you go out. “The most common cause of injury is getting on too difficult a trail too soon,” he says. “Always put yourself in an environment you can deal with. Know your limits and the limits of your equipment.” Secunda suggests taking lessons to learn the basics and concentrating on building up your endurance and leg strength.

Protective gear includes a helmet; glasses or goggles to protect the eyes from sand, mud, and overhanging branches; and bicycle gloves. Depending on how remote the area is where you’re planning to bike, you’ll need a patch kit, repair kit, and first aid kit.

Tips for the Adventure-Minded

  • Plan ahead for climbing. Technical climbing, including bouldering and ice climbing, takes patience, trust, and teamwork. Pros spend weeks figuring out the moves and sequences before climbing.
  • Skate uphill to increase the intensity of a skating workout.
  • Know how to take a spill on skates: Relax, go down to your knees, and roll to one side on your shoulder.
  • If you’re a blader, don’t ignore your upper body. Carry light weights or do regular pushups.
  • Be wary of in-line skating hazards including hills, slick surfaces, and cracks in the pavement.
  • Never use a mountain bike that is too big for you. On a trail, you need to be able to steady yourself by putting a foot on the ground.
  • Never speed down an unfamiliar trail.
  • Always let someone know where you’re biking and when you expect to get back.
  • Mountain bike on established trails. Blazing new paths damages the soil and can be dangerous.
  • Choose well-fitting snowboard boots. Loose-fitting boots increase the risk of a knee or ankle injury. Tight boots can cause numb feet and frozen toes.

To Review and Do

  1. What are some of the skills and fitness components that rock climbing requires and helps to develop? (Rock climbing takes strength in the hands and fingers, balance, good hand-eye coordination, and flexibility.)
  2. Assign students to construct a chart that will compare and contrast the several adventure sports discussed in this article as to the fitness capacities that they develop, the skills they require, the most common types of injuries associated with the sports, and the best means to prevent injuries (equipment, etc.).

Going to Extremes-Safely (Part 1)

“So-called ‘extreme sports’ such as in-line skating, snowboarding, mountain biking and rock climbing are fun and challenging, but can also be dangerous. The particular dangers of each afforementioned sport are presented, with tips for injury prevention and proper training.”

Extreme sports tend to be dangerous. Here’s how to reduce the risk.

Keith, 15, wanted a taste of the extreme. So when rock climbing was offered at his high school, he couldn’t wait to sign up. What he didn’trealize was how hard rock climbing was. “It’s not just about pulling yourself up a climbing wall,” he says. “You have to have really strong legs and feet. And you have to trust your partner and concentrate on what you’re doing. It’s tough.”

Rock climbing isn’t the only adventure sport that demands strength, stamina, and guts. Popular pursuits like kayaking, snowboarding, and windsurfing deliver a thrill by pitting sheer nerve against the forces of nature, leaving the sports enthusiast exhilarated and eager for more. But despite the adrenaline rush that comes from tackling obstacles like rocky cliffs and raging rapids, adventure or extreme sports can also result in serious injury or death–if the proper precautions are not taken.

Learning the Ropes

Thanks to new technologies and equipment, and the availability of certified instruction, rock climbing is a lot safer than most people think. “Eighty percent of people learn to climb indoors where the environment is controlled,” says David Secunda, executive director of the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America. “When they make the transition to outdoor climbing, things get dangerous, especially if a climber tries to go higher than he or she can safely handle.” Rock climbing is a great way to learn to push past your fears, but that’s no excuse for not practicing proper technique under the watchful eye of a qualified instructor.

Physically, rock climbing takes strength (particularly in the hands and legs), balance, and good hand-eye coordination. Unlike other sports, in climbing, there’s no advantage to having a particular body type or strength level. Anyone can try it, says Secunda. Once you do, however, maintaining flexibility is critical. “If you’re going to do any training at all,” he says, “do a serious and rigorous stretching routine every day.”


Snowboarding is a demanding, aggressive sport that requires you to be aerobically fit, strong, and extremely flexible.

The most common accidents are injuries to the wrists, thumbs, and upper body–all of which are avoidable by learning to fall properly. Beginners tend to catch themselves by planting their hands palm down in the snow. That puts pressure on the wrist or thumb and can cause a fracture. A safer way is to break your fall with the fleshy part of your forearms or, if you’re falling backward, to land on your rear. Luckily, snow is a more forgiving surface to fall on than pavement.

The environment also presents hazards. Mountain temperatures can be unpredictable. What starts as a beautiful sunny morning can turn into a blizzard by noon. Remember, too, that at high altitudes, the sun’s UV rays are intense enough to cause severe burns, even on cloudy days.

As in all adventure sports, knowing your limits and not rushing to try difficult trails or stunts before you’re ready are the keys to safe and successful snowboarding, says Secunda. By far the greatest danger comes when snowboarders get off the beaten track and snowboard “out of bounds,” he says. “Lots of riders look for thrills and the chance to ride in pristine snow while avoiding lift lines. Trouble is, there is a real risk of avalanche. The ski area is controlled. Out of bounds, it isn’t.”

No doubt about it, adventure sports are high-risk. They demand complete concentration, preparation, and stamina. But, with the proper training and heeding all safety precautions, they can be fun and exhilarating.