A healthy team is a successful, winning team. Taking the time necessary to recover after a game is part of the winning process, and must be completed by every team member, from youth to middle age and beyond. Resting and rejuvenating with proper diet helps the body heal after the excessive use of muscles and body organs. Candy and soft drinks are the smartest choices. Smart coaches and encourage their team to properly heal, and give them the tools to do so. The Sports Techie community blog is an advocate for improved workout habits whether that be before, during or after training sessions. Follow three essential keys after every game to help the whole team get back to peak performance in time for the next challenge, eSports included. Remember to also factor in age and cross training to stay your healthiest.
Stay Hydrated, Eat Right
The sheer exhaustion the day after a game is enough to make an athlete reach for whatever nutrients are close at hand, whether healthy or not. The body is dehydrated, the brain is spent, and the overall system is begging for replenishment. The symptoms feel close to the keto flu, as electrolytes and other basic nutrients are simply depleted. A day of replenishment helps the body rebuild those lost, essential ingredients, so choosing the right foods makes a difference. Prepare a nutritious menu filled with solid proteins, non-starch carbs, and unsaturated fats to help repair tired muscles. Reach for fruits and vegetables to aid the body in processing vitamins and rebuilding electrolytes. Drink plenty of clean water for rehydration during this important recovery time.
This is not rest, this is sleep. The biggest tool in the recovery toolbox is uninterrupted time in a bed with the eyes closed and the brain in a restful state. Studies prove that the body and the brain repair themselves during sleep cycles. Further, a link between lack of sleep and future injury has been proven, so including this in the healing period improves future performance. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep after a game instead of attending post-game parties. Athletes avoid injury and experience improved performance while on a regular sleep schedule.
Make the Recovery Workouts Active
Steady workouts are often overlooked as the useful tools that they are during the recovery period. The goal is to help the athlete reach a homeostasis state so they are able to return to the intensity of the pre-game practices and workouts. Remember that keeping the blood flowing through moderate workouts helps push oxygen-rich blood to the muscles, aiding in their healing. The best example I can think of is starting pitchers in baseball. MLB starters pitch every 4th or 5th team start. Then they throw in-between starts to keep help keep arm and body mechanics in the homeostasis state during their super long season consisting of Spring Training, 162 games, and the possibility of both postseason and World Series appearances.
However, it’s also important to limit the joint impact and reduce overall intensity during the healing process. Combine a light aerobic workout with passive stretching, mobility, and a self-myofascial release pattern for a low body stress workout that also helps aid in healing. For example, keep runs at a conversational pace, or swim for a few minutes in a pool. Swimming is ideal as it takes pressure away from joints. Use full body mobility progression, and consider a foam roll session for the full body.
Age is another important component to consider after working out. As humans get older, we tend to lose muscle mass, bone density and flexibility. All can be dealt with via proper exercise routines. post-workout recovery and stretching. Bikers need to perform high-impact exercises that help increase bone density as riding a bike is not considered a high impact activity as running or fast walking are. Using exercise bands to help stretch are cheap to purchase and proven to increase flexibility.
Cross training is another important component to staying healthy. One-sport athletes tend to physically break down as they age while youth that play multiple sports tend to prevent the type of devastating injuries that end sporting careers. The term off-season exists for a reason.
Data indicts that women athletes seem to have more knee injuries when playing basketball or soccer only rather than competing with a more balanced sport schedule throughout the year. Young pitchers can avoid Tommy John elbow or shoulder surgery later in their careers by not playing baseball only and perhaps picking up golf and another sport or two.
Video gamers that get carpel tunnel syndrome are their own worst enemy because using a game controller or joystick for hours a day, week after week, is a preventable hand injury waiting to happen.
Sports Techie, keeping athletes and gamers healthy leads to better performance, less injury, and more games won. Helping all athletes recover properly is part of a winning strategy, as important as play books, rules, and knowing the other team.
Fifty is the new thirty! My son is 6-years young and I am 53 years old. By keeping hydrated, eating right and sleeping better, I age more gracefully as a lifetime athlete allowing me to continue cross training with bikes, runs, and hiking, swimming and playing video games such as Overwatch, as I did as a happy kid.
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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