If you’re an athlete, staying strong and healthy is your mission. Injury is the enemy and something you want to avoid at all costs. To enjoy success in your sport or game, there are some basics that can help your body perform optimally and to keep your mind focused on competitive proficiency.
1. The Protein Factor
We’ve all heard time and time again about consuming ample carbohydrates to keep our physical machines running fast and efficiently. That nutritional gem is true because carbs are all about energy and fuel for the body, but protein is in a class of its own for the athlete.
When you’re training, it’s important to understand the role that your muscle tissue plays.
This tissue is being broken down so it can grow and recover, and your body needs protein to accomplish the process. Our muscles are nourished via amino acids and protein, and these are the true building blocks for muscle tissue.
2. Cross-train With Yoga
When an athlete has mastered strength, flexibility, balance, power and mental agility, the chances for injury go down. Yoga offers multiple benefits to both men and women, and a long list of professional athletes add yoga to do their regimen to maintain peak core integrity.
Some of these dominating athletes include Tom Brady (N.E. Patriots), LeBron James (L.A. Lakers), Evelyn Stevens (Cyclist) and Natalie Gulbis (LPGA).
Gulbis is considered one of the healthiest golfers in the sport and told Golf Digest that “the muscle groups needed in golf is everything around your core.” She finds that standing yoga poses offer her the most rewards because they emphasize balance and stability.
3. Have a Recovery Plan
After a game, an athlete requires proper recovery to maintain their peak performance and prevent injury for their next challenge. Recovery is done after you play and can feature a variety of strategies to use in between games.
For example, one of these would be the soak. Sitting in water is tremendous for the body. Professional trainers recommend an ice tub for 10 to 12 minutes if you’re training again within the same day.
Otherwise, sit in a hot tub and an Epsom salt bath if you’re not training again until the next day.
Refuel with a recovery carb-loaded shake within 20 minutes after performance to reenergize your body’s depleted energy stores.
After a game, take care of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your lower back by trying back compression.
This type of wrap is an excellent way to get gentle support, warmth and effective therapy for protecting the lower back region from discomfort, overwork or pain.
4. Really, Warm Up!
Almost one-third of all injuries that sports medical clinics see involve the skeletal muscles. Warm-up exercises prepare the body for the stress of movement and can help your agility. There is a reason you see professional athletes warming up because the routine protects the body from future injury and warms up the muscle groups involved by increasing blood flow.
Expert trainers recommend doing both static and dynamic stretches 15 minutes before any exercise. Static stretches are those you hold in a certain position for a period of time. The knee-to-chest pose is a good example. Dynamic stretches are those that are completed while moving like doing forward lunges, for instance.
Some pro athletes believe in doing a warm-up shoeless or barefoot to help build their foot and ankle stability.
5. Liquid Replenishment
Every athlete needs proper hydration to perform at their highest level, and you can bet that water plays a very important role, especially as sweat is leaving their body during competition.
Those athletes who have experienced dehydration know the awful symptoms such as fatigue, muscle cramps, and dizziness.
Water is your best choice for hydrating in a short period of time. Sports drinks like Gatorade are an excellent choice over a long extended period of time playing a sport. Gatorade has more electrolytes than water and also contains carbohydrates for refueling.
Being an athlete requires a lot of movement, and keeping your muscles performing exceptionally is key. By following the five tips above, you can avoid injury and stay in the game.