Curling exercises body and mind

Welcome back curlers.

Welcome back curlers.

Another season has begun and 2011-2012 promises to be a year of good competition, fun and fitness.

Big thanks to our icemaker Chris Jones and his team for working around the clock to get our ice ready for this week. As we shift our focus from the beaches and the golf courses to the rink, it’s time to start thinking about conditioning our bodies for curling.

I know what you are thinking, how much conditioning do you need to lift a beverage to your mouth? In all fairness, this is saved for after the game, what we call broom stacking. Curling isn’t just fun. It’s also a great way to exercise the body and mind.  The physical workout is up to you, but let’s face it, it requires some effort to slide a 42-pound granite stone 150 feet down the ice.  The professionals make it look effortless, but delivering a stone on ice requires balance and a lot more strength than people realize.

The sweeping of the rock can be felt in the thighs and forearms, and it does have some cardio benefits. Curling flexes the brain muscles too. The game can be very strategic as you anticipate the stone placement up to 16 shots in advance.

While a select few seem to be almost naturally flexible, most of us are not, and a regular stretching routine can not only enhance the game but also reduce the risk of strain or injury. A warm-up routine is particularly important for curlers for two reasons:the cool air temperature inside the rink and the stress placed on the lower joints during delivery.

One such stretch that aides in the delivery of the stone is the lunge.

The lunges target the quads and help curlers practise keeping their balance in a lunge position. Stand with one foot flat on the ground in front of you and the ball of the other foot on the ground behind you. Keep most of your weight on the front foot and slowly lower yourself to a 90-degree bend. Slowly return to the starting position. Keep your shoulders and hips aligned throughout the lunge. Never lock your knees.

There are many different stretches that can be done in preparation for the game. It can be for five minutes or 15. What is important is to just stretch, stretch, stretch.  Your body will thank you.

As I referenced earlier, the term broom stacking is worth explaining. This term, found in the history books, was used by early curlers. After completing a game on the pond, players would stack their brooms in front of the fire and enjoy beverages with the opponent.

New Curlers

We are still accepting registration for new and returning curlers.  We have openings for players in our Wednesday evening mixed competitive league, Thursday and Friday evening fun leagues and our Sunday morning league. There is no big investment necessary for equipment. You just need a clean pair of runners. If you would like to find out more information about our leagues, please call the club at 250-492-5647 or visit our website at www.pentictoncurlingclub.com.

Around the House

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of George Schmidt.  George was a past-president and an active member of the Penticton Curling Club.  He will be sadly missed.

We will hold two learn-to-curl clinics on Oct. 15 and Nov. 12 from 1 to 5 p.m. Pre-registration is necessary for this clinic. Everyone welcome.

Opening one-day wreckspiel will be on Saturday, Nov. 7. Register as an individual or a team.

The annual Christmas open house and member appreciation will be held Dec. 17. Music will be provided by Uncorked.

Good curling and happy broom stacking.

Kim Kirkham is a spokesperson for the Penticton Curling Club