Most Sunday morning footballers over the age of 30 are desperate to find it.
And it’s even more so at this time of the year with the prospect of what lye’s ahead.
For many – to find the easiest way to make the biggest difference to the inevitable consequence of going a week or two without a game is the Holy Grail.
And it’s because so many players can hold their hand up to having experienced next day aches, their body out of shape, blowing out of the wrong end and finding it as difficult as they could ever image to get going again after a week or twos absence.
And even when you do get going again in that first game in early January, you know just what to expect the first Monday after it – and it wont be nice.
Finding a solution to the next day aches and pains is what is likely to be on the Christmas wish list of many Sunday morning footballers who’ve visited my practice this month.
But the bad news is that even the fat man with the red coat and the white beard cant deliver on this one because a full cure doesn’t exist.
The great news is though that you can minimise the problem by doing something really simple.
Find a 7 min stretching routine and stick to it daily.
Twice daily if you know you’re really going to suffer when the new year season kicks back in.
The reason why is that for these next two weeks your muscles and joints will inevitably stiffen and shorten. Add in a few turkey sandwiches and a plenty of booze, then it doesn’t make for great fuel for your muscles either.
But the worst bit is that your muscles will become accustomed to not having to stretch, or stop or start in the way that a game of football requires them to do so.
It takes on average just two weeks to lose fitness at the end of a season.
I’d say once you tip 30, it takes only one week to lose the elasticity that your muscles have been used to every week that you play.
It always makes me think that the cry for a mid season break in the professional game is a stupid one. Because unless players plan to stop completely what’s the point.
The cruel irony of rest is that your body can very quickly get out of shape. And with that comes a much higher injury risk.
And so sometimes the amount of fitness work that you’d have to do to catch up on what you lost, out does the rest that you got.
But back to the grassroots stuff.
My recommendation is that you spend only seven minutes each morning stretching the major muscles such as those around your back, hamstring, quads and calf’s- the major ones you use when you play.
If you want to be really helpful to your body – do the exact same seven-minute stretch before you go to bed too.
Do it and you’re giving your self the best shot at getting going again as quickly and easily as you’d hope after the new year.