What Ails You?: Bowling BooBoos

Got sore forearm (or butt?!). Vineyard health practitioners weigh in.

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Edgartown Fire Captain Sam Koohy lines up his shot in this file photo. – Photo by Michael Cummo

With the opening of the Barn Bowl & Bistro, Islanders are flocking to the lanes. Suddenly,  our friends are complaining of “bowling butt:” sore glute muscles from unfamiliar exercising. Other ailments include jammed fingers, sore forearms, and achy knees and shoulders. The Local asked Island health experts what we can do to remedy — and prevent — these injuries so we can get back to throwing strikes (or at least, you know, throwing the ball in the general direction of the pins).

Brenda Wallis, PT

The Mansion House

So what’s going on with our muscles?

Sounds like these bowlers need to both strengthen the glute (butt) muscles, as well as the muscles in their arms, shoulders, back, and core. There are lots of strength exercises that one can do to target these muscles, such as squats, lunges and curtsy lunges. Make sure these exercises are performed equally on both sides so that the body stays balanced. Arms, shoulders, and back need weight-bearing exercises as well. I would recommend bicep curls, shoulder press, pec flies for arms and shoulders, and deadlifts and rows for the back. Rotational exercises to strengthen the oblique muscles in the core are also important to help keep the body stabilized and strong. It’s important that the movements are done correctly with proper form and alignment to eliminate the risk of injury. A variety of equipment can be used such as dumbbells, resistance bands, and the dual adjustable pulley machine for example. Perhaps a few sessions with a personal trainer would be money well spent in order to keep the body healthy by reducing soreness and injury, strengthening the muscles, and in turn improving one’s performance in the lanes.

Josh Levy, MS, RD, LD

Vineyard Nutrition

What type of food should one ingest before bowling?

Getting ready for bowling may require some special sports nutrition. For recreational bowlers, there is nothing special you should eat before your time on the lanes. For competitive bowlers, we recommend eating a small snack before your game starts. This will increase your stamina and strength. Try eating one hour or less before bowling, and aim for foods that are easy to digest and give you quick energy. These foods include bananas, oatmeal, 100 percent whole grain bread or English muffins, sweet potatoes, or a bowl of whole grain cereal. You want to avoid high fat and high sugar foods right before you bowl. You might get a little energy boost, but it will fade fast and leave you feeling drained.

Once a person has sore muscles, what’s the best thing to do?

First, make sure to hydrate. Drink plenty of water and herbal tea. You can also try some plain, unsweetened coconut water. Then think about loading up on anti-inflammatory foods, which can help bring down the swelling and ease your sore muscles. For example, try a meal of grilled wild Alaskan salmon, turmeric and garlic spiced sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts and cauliflower roasted in extra virgin olive oil, and a baked apple sprinkled with cinnamon for dessert.

Sheila Muldaur

Island Homeopathic Medicine

What else can we do for sore muscles?

Once a person experiences sore muscles from bowling, the best thing to do homeopathically is to start with Arnica. It is the first remedy to use for acute injury including strains, sprains, and muscle pulls, and it can be used topically in a cream or gel as well as taken internally in pill form. A 30C of Arnica can be taken repeatedly to give relief. 3 – 2 – 1 dosage is often recommended — three times the first day, two times the second day, and once for several following days.

A rule of thumb about homeopathy is when there is improvement, slow down on taking the remedy. If improvement stops, repeat the remedy. Topical Arnica can also be applied. To be on the safe side, take a dose of Arnica on your way out the door next time.