Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s Joyinmovement newsletter.
I’m thinking we should call this one Three Steps to Better Sports Performance.
Spring is here and for many of us we kick up our training and exercise a few notches. Because of this, I thought I’d throw a few reminders your way so that you stay healthy, fit, and handle with ease any stress that comes along. It’s always good, particularly at the beginning of spring, to go back to basics!
Eat a healthy diet. This step actually has three parts.
Choose the right foods.
Choosing healthy foods improves your sports performance by building strong muscles and giving you the energy you need to compete to your maximum potential. Remember to include carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Also, plenty, and I do mean plenty of fruits and vegetables. Aim for at least five servings a day. This will keep you at the top of your game.
Eat the right amount of foods.
Eating the right amount of food is also very important. The amount of food (calories) you need to eat depends on your sex, weight, body type and activity level. To get an idea of how many calories you need to eat every day to stay at your current body weight, multiply your weight in pounds by 15. Then add 10 calories (men) or 8 calories (women) for every minute of vigorous exercise per day.
Drink enough fluids.
Drinking a lot of fluids will improve your sports performance, and particularly during the summer months it will prevent heatstroke. Take the prevention of heatstroke seriously if you perform intense exercise on hot days. Prevent dehydration by following some rules:
* Drink two tall glasses of water an hour before you exercise, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
* Drink another glass of water after every 15 minutes of vigorous exercise, even if you’re not thirsty. If you’re exercising for over 90 minutes, sports drinks, along with water, may be helpful.
*Rest in the shade if possible and wear a hat if exercising outdoors.
Prevent sports injuries.
Sports injuries are common and can hurt your sports performance. I know that sounds obvious but MANY injuries are preventable.
Proper conditioning: Exercise regularly all year, including the pre-season and off-season if you play team sports. Do a proper warm up, cool down and stretch after your workout. If you’re not sure what I mean by “proper” then meet with a coach or trainer and have them teach you. It’s well worth the time and effort.
Avoid overtraining: Excessive training, sudden changes in training, or training for multiple sports at the same time can increase your risk of injury. Do not ignore pain! Pain is a warning signal, so please heed the warning. It’s your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Better to take time off to recover, then push through pain.
Use the proper equipment: Make sure you are using the right equipment and that it fits you properly. I’m still amazed when I see people on bicycles that aren’t fitted to them properly. Or runners who wear shoes that are too small. Take the time to match the equipment to your body and you’ll experience less discomfort and pain.
Develop healthy habits.
Developing healthy habits can improve your performance by giving you more energy for your sports. Here are some basics:
* Get enough sleep. Most people need somewhere between 7-9 hours a night. I rarely meet anyone who says they get enough good quality sleep. A good night’s rest improves all aspects of your life, and will certainly increase your ability to compete and perform at your potential.
* Don’t smoke or chew tobacco: This one sounds obvious too, but lately I’ve noticed a trend among men. I’m seeing a rise in both the popularity of smoking and chewing tobacco. If you know anyone who smokes or chews tobacco remind them that besides hurting their overall sports performance, it damages their lungs and mouth, gives them bad breath and yellow teeth, and makes their clothes and hair stink!
* Moderate your intake of alcohol and fancy coffee drinks. They can increase your weight and make you bloated. And if you consume too much of these, the rising and falling of your blood sugar will diminish your desire to work out as well as your performance.
Along with these three steps it’s important to remember that exercise really is the silver bullet!
I know; you run, bike, swim, ski, hike, lift weights and you make time in your life for movement even when it’s not easy. And that most of the time you try to watch what you eat. And that you enjoy this kind of lifestyle because it’s FUN, keeps you in great shape and helps you handle stress. We all need to keep it going so that we will be able to pursue our favorite sports well into our 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Study after study shows that active people tend to live longer and stay active longer.
So while this month’s Joyinmovement letter may seem almost too basic, it ALL does start with the basics! If you need more information on some of the basics I’ve mentioned, there are 4 years of newsletter archives on the JIM site. I’ve covered these basic topics in greater depth, so check them out and use them as a reference.
Until next month, enJOY what you do and do what you enJOY!