Top Border Staying Fit And Healthy As An Athlete Bottom Border

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To be able to perform to your full potential it is important to be physically and mentally in peak condition. This means using all the techniques, facilities and specialists available to you and training appropriately. It is important to avoid overtraining and to ensure an adequate diet. For teenagers it is important to understand the changes that are occurring within your body and your environment and how to live and cope with them.

 

Hopefully, with a sensible approach to your training you can remain fit, healthy and in peak condition, not only for competing now but also for your future.

 

Injury Prevention Tips:

 

  • Be fit for sport
  • Include proper strength and conditioning programmes in your training and check for muscle weaknesses and imbalances
  • Carry out pre-season conditioning involving neuromuscular and proprioceptive training to protect against knee and ankle injuries. Neuromuscular training focuses on specific muscles and nerves needed for a particular sport to enhance motor skills and body control. Proprioceptive or balance training aims to improve your positional sense
  • Make sure you feel in the right frame of mind before you train
  • Focused, relaxed and not fatigued
  • Warm up and cool down appropriately - this will reduce muscle stiffness and improve flexibility
  • Increase training load slowly and carefully - most sports injuries are due to overuse
  • Train on different surfaces and wear the right clothing and footwear
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Eat and drink enough to meet your daily energy requirements and replace fluid and muscle glycogen (carbohydrate stored in the muscles that the body uses for energy) within an hour of training or competing
  • Make sure you get enough rest and recovery
  • Monitor and treat what might seem to be a minor injury very carefully
  • Treat injuries quickly and use the RICE acronym (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) - you will be quickly reducing the seriousness of the injury and the time away from training before even seeking medical advice

 

Your Health:

 

  • Monitoring your own health is helpful in the long term and checking your morning pulse (before getting out of bed) gives you an easy indicator if all is well
  • If you develop a viral infection with a temperature and a pulse 10 beats a minute higher than usual you should avoid training
  • Your GP should be your first port of call for all medical matters
  • Your GP can organise x-rays, scans, further expert opinions and physiotherapy
  • During the winter months you should consider Vitamin D supplementation of 1000 units per day, on top of a good calcium intake, to reduce minor injuries and ensure good bone health
  • Weight loss and below normal weight is a serious medical issue and should be discussed with your GP and coach
  • Female athletes can get advice on hormones and should consider asking for a Full Blood Count and a Ferritin level (which should be higher than 30 in an athlete)
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