Athletes have to undergo rigorous training to remain in shape for their craft. To ensure they can endure the kind of training expected of them, they need to stay fit and healthy. This is the only way they can prolong their career and remain successful.
The kind of training athletes usually do is often very hard on their health. Therefore, they need ways to support their health and fitness. Here are a few things athletes must do to stay healthy and fit.
Stretch when it is the right time
You might have heard your gym instructor asking you to stretch before starting a gym session. Stretching before a workout is not always a good idea. Cold muscles are usually stiff; hence, they are more susceptible to injury and lasting damage. As an athlete, you cannot afford injury; thus, don’t do anything that jeopardizes your fitness.
It is better to stretch and do flexibility exercises when your muscles have warmed up after a workout session. At this point, they have better elasticity and have received an ample amount of blood.
However, if you enjoy stretching before a gym session, ensure it is not intense. You can brisk walk, jog for five to ten minutes, or jump rope to warm up your muscles.
Get a sports physical
It is not unheard of for athletes, especially student-athletes, to get an injury during play or intensive training. However, injury prevention is extremely important and can be done through a sports physical before the commencement of the sports season. It is done to evaluate your health and fitness level and suitability for participation.
If athletes are unhealthy, participating in the sport must be ruled out to prevent further damage.
Now the question “where to get a sports physical” comes to mind. You can get a sports physical from a Chiropractor in your city or the surrounding cities. Search about chiropractors online, or consult your sports coach for recommendations.
You must get a sports physical once every year to locate the problems before the start of your sports season. Not getting a sports physical means you won’t be able to find the problem early on and hence, might be ruled out of the game when the issue comes to surface in its more serious state.
Get plenty of sleep
Athletes put a lot of mental and physical pressure on their bodies and minds. The pressure to maintain their performance, ranking, and popularity, not to mention fitness, often takes a toll on your psychological and physical well-being. As a result, a time comes when you find yourself in a rut with no idea what to do.
Sleep is one of the surefire ways to release stress on your body and mind. During sleep, your aching muscles relax, relieving your mind from the constant pressure. You need seven to eight hours of peaceful sleep every day to stay healthy.
It is also essential because a lack of sleep can interfere with your focus. You might have trouble concentrating on your training if you continuously ignore your sleep. As a result, it will affect your performance. Athletes who don’t have sufficient hours of sleep can get injured too. Research about Collegiate Basketball Players has shown that ample sleep can help athletes achieve their crowning athletic performance.
Give attention to your injury
It might be tempting for the athletes to ignore or downplay their injury so that they can keep on training. But downplaying the injury or playing through the pain often causes bigger problems.
Ignoring your injury can result in getting you sidelined for longer or render you completely unfitting for the play. Therefore, always give due attention to your injury.
Make injury recovery part of your plan because getting back in the game is your responsibility. Consult the right doctors and physical therapists to get details of your injury and work on recovery. Work with your health provider and follow your treatment plan’s instructions so you can get back to your routine as soon as possible.
Usually, when you get injured, getting some rest is a must. Try to refrain from physical activity except what your doctor allows and stick to a healthy diet routine.
Never ignore your diet
Eating a healthy diet is an essential requirement for an athlete. Diet is needed to fulfill the nutritional deficiencies of the body. A healthy diet with the proper nutrients is the natural repair mechanism, mandatory for your body and mind. Diet is also needed to make you enjoy your sport, which you cannot do if your body is weak and tired due to a lack of the right nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and so on.
Athletes need to make sure the following to maintain their health:
- Take ample amount of calories every day
- Avoid overdosing on any one type of food, and try to have a balanced diet
- Ensure the presence of proteins which are the primary element for building and repairing muscles
- Drink plenty of water to ensure muscle elasticity. Dehydrated muscles get stiff, lose their elasticity, and are more prone to pain and damage
Don’t ignore what your body tells
Your body often gives you signals about its health. You just have to pay attention and respond to it. It is very tempting to keep working hard when you see the results and feel you are faster, stronger, and fitter.
While you should definitely put all your efforts into training, you must also know when to slow down and take a break.
When you feel your body is telling you to decrease your efforts, do that. Make some adjustments and have some rest. Taking a break occasionally does not off-track you; instead, it helps you recoup your strength and be ready for much better.
No matter what you play or the sport you are associated with, taking care of your health and fitness is extremely important to stay safe during rigorous training. The above-mentioned are the easiest ways to care for yourself mentally and physically. Ensuring a better diet, and drinking plenty of water, fruit juices, etc., strengthens your body and makes you energetic. A healthy lifestyle also ensures that you are ready to fight if there is any injury.