With the first day of Spring quickly approaching, many people are dusting off their athletic equipment to use in the warmer weather. But what many don’t realize is that a simple spot shine won’t do the job of properly maintaining their gear. As with our bodies, proper maintenance of our athletic equipment can go a long way towards ensuring that you are getting the maximum benefit and investment from your bikes, skates, skateboards, snowboards, skis, rackets, running shoes and those ever so expensive orthotics.
Body Image PT, would like to remind you about the need to clean and maintain the many tools you may choose to use to keep yourselves active and healthy. Here are a few tips for you to follow as you start to take your equipment out of storage, and get them back into fighting shape.
It may seem like a daunting task, but if you maintain all the parts of a bike you can rest assured that it will operate smoothly and efficiently for years to come. Before every ride it is important to inspect your bike. A good rule of thumb is to remember you ABCs! A for air, B for Brakes, and C is for chain.
When checking the tire pressure, it is important to the know the psi (pounds per square inch) for your tires. Narrow bike tires need more pressure than wider ones. Road bike tires require anywhere from 80 to 130 psi, hybrid tires need 50 to 70 psi, and mountain bike tires from 25 to 35 psi. When out for a ride it is important that you have a patch kit and a air pump with you incase you lose air or get a flat.
For brake inspections, make sure that they engage when you squeeze both the front and back levers. As for the chain, ensure that it is well lubricated and everything is clean. This will ensure that the gears shift easier and will help the parts last longer.
Snowboards and Skis
Winter weather sports is slowly winding down but it is still important to keep your equipment in good condition for next season.
To start with, it is important that your skis or snowboard have a protective layer of wax, to keep them from drying out and to provide you with a smoother ride. While new equipment may come with “factory wax” already applied, many riders agree that giving them a hot wax treatment will go a long way in extending the life of your gear. Tools of the trade include wax, an iron and a scraper. While they sell designated irons for this purpose, any iron will suffice: but never use the iron on clothing afterwards as it would ruin your garments. It’s important to note that waxing isn’t a one-and-done step, but will need to be conducted from time to time.
When dealing with gashes caused by exposed rocks or other abrasive materials on the slopes, deal with them sooner rather than later. If it’s just a small nick, you can apply hot wax to the area, but if it is much deeper you’ll need to take it to a shop or you can repair it yourself with a P-Tex candle.
After each and every ride, remember to dry your equipment thoroughly as any moisture left on your board could rust the metal components. If you’re ready to hang up our skis or snowboard for good this season, give it a good wipe down and thick layer of wax that you can scrape off next year; and store it in a cool, dry place where it is not at risk of getting knocked around.
Skates and Skateboards
While skates and skateboards differ in their specific maintenance, the overall theme towards maintaining them is to tighten their components, keep them out of temperature extremes, and make sure that the wheels are well oiled to provide for a smoother ride.
Having the tools available can help you check the wheels, trucks, bearings and more without having to take your gear to the shop each time.
Skates, skateboards, snowboards and skis all need upkeep as well. Replacing worn parts (do the wheels roll smoothly and do your bindings release properly?) will go a long way toward making your upcoming season a smooth, active, injury free one. There are many resources online that provide exceptional details towards skate
maintenance, so be sure to conduct your research when taking your things out of storage.
Tennis and Racquetball Rackets
Have you had your tennis /racquetball rackets restrung in the last decade? Do the handles fit your hands properly? Or are you just itching to come to physical therapy with tendinitis created by an ill- fitting racket? Chances are, if you play hard with your rackets, they might need to be replaced or repaired.
Running and Walking Shoes
Running and walking shoes are an item that some people are meticulous about replacing properly, and many more are not so good about replacing. You know which one you are. If you fall into the second category, you are not doing your feet, knees, hips or back any favors by trying to slide through one more year in a pair of worn shoes. A shoe is support for your feet so that they hit the ground properly, and propel you forward with ease and proper body mechanics. An orthotic being used in worn shoes will not substitute for having a proper shoe in which to put the orthotic.
So let’s talk about orthotics.
Due to the expense of a molded orthotic, we tend to think they should last forever. As our feet change shape pretty much constantly throughout our lives, this theory can be lacking in truth. Your feet may no longer work with the orthotic you bought even 3-5 years ago. That ache you have been developing in your back could be related to the old orthotics in your shoes. Start with a good shoe that supports your feet properly, then determine if you need an orthotic to assist you further.
Do some Spring cleaning to start your year off right. It will help you play better and feel better.