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  • Writer's pictureTUDSE hockey

Being healthy and sporty

Tips and common mistakes in the health of sports people.

Everybody into sports at least once as a child got told “you have to take care and be healthy”, “you have to eat well”, “you have to sleep at certain amount of time”, but nobody usually explained why you should do that, beyond the phrase “it's for your health or well being”. Sometimes without understanding is hard to follow the rules, so here I leave you some information a bit more concrete, as some of the most common mistakes done by sports people in terms of health along their lives. Specially to talk about eating, sleeping and recovery, crucial for a good performance in sport.

I dare to say that maybe the biggest mistake for sports people is in eating. Many times lots of people measure how healthy they are just in terms of their weight. This mistake leads to finding many young highly sportive women and men with very bad eating habits, that maybe on that moment will not affect them, but might do in the long run. Because this will affect the quality of their muscles and bones, taking them to injuries like shin splints. We have to center our attention in what and when to eat specially. And this is something you learn, either with a healthy pattern taught by your parents or a specialist in the area, you would usually require this help as every single person is different and it's not only about just eating, but what and when depending on your activities and your preferences in food.

Besides this, here 2 concrete things to do and avoid:

  1. Avoid doing sports without food in your belly. I know, it's popular now a days those diets with long periods of time without eating so here is the next recommendation, if you have to train without eating just don't do very demanding exercise or for a long period of time, it may get you feeling dizzy or even fainting, because of the lack of energy. But some will say “I don't have time for breakfast before training” then at least either bring a fruit and juice with you, in case you feel with little energy, or eat something quick before, or something you can carry like a protein bar or a fruit. At last, if even this is not possible, try to secure carbs of long assimilation and proteins in your last meal.

  2. And… what if I exercise very late? There are several recommendations about that, biggest mistake would be to leave your dinner for later or to have a big meal just before training. This won't help your performance neither your recovery. Ideally you should train the latest 1-2 hours before going to sleep, but if this is unavoidable, specially with team trainings as with hockey, there are certain precautions to take that you must follow. First, don't go to sleep with an empty stomach! This will affect your capacity to recover the muscles from your last training session. If you are finding yourself struggling to fall asleep, or feeling like after a day of your training your muscles are still in a lot of pain, maybe it has to do with your nutrients and specially proteins that you are lacking, make sure you have a bit in storage inside you before bed. On the other hand it would be ideal to try to eat 2 hours before your training, maybe something not to heavy and then just grab a snack before bed.

Another big mistake, specially in adolescents and young adults has to do with resting. We want to achieve everything, and feel invincible. The mistake is thinking that, because you have the energy and you can bare a long night and then a morning wake up, you'll be fine and healthy. That it won't affect you, but that's mistaken as with the weight and healthy eating. Not sleeping properly affects also the quality of your bones, ligaments and muscles. It will affect in the end the quality of your recovery.

But, of course, is not so easy, because it means making choices, not doing everything that you would love to do, this thought of being able to cope with everything may be the hardest to change. What it would be key is to, for every decision you make, ask yourself How will this affect my short and long term protects? And sometimes may be healthier for your mind to do everything and sacrifice resting, but not always, sometimes it will be best for my dreams to have to choose. But related with this, in how life is nowadays, its hard to think of choosing on a society that encourages the spontaneous satisfaction and promotes such an accelerated life, filling your schedule with activities, and trying to do it all. To you who are 15, 18 or 25 years old, remember that if something doesn't go as you planned it, or you feel as if you need to prioritize some things and so you'll have to sacrifice something, remember that there is time, and even though we cannot see the future, there are many other opportunities to come. If you are not feeling well with the high demand that your commitments require from you then maybe there is something to change, if its hard to choose and find which are your priorities, it's always helpful and useful to look for counselling from a specialist, as it could help you not telling you what to do, but guide you helping you find what is more important to you, help you with your stability or emotional regulation which are a fundamental for a good performance in sports, and there are many tools for the mind that you can actually learn in therapy.

At last, let's talk about injuries. The most common injuries are shin splints (can take a month to several months to fully recover), ankle sprains (1-2months), and stress fractures (3months to recover). And those who are sport lovers will struggle with the several change on our routine. One of the biggest mistakes is to then start taking recovery as training (for example, when a fisiotherapist tells you to goon the bike 15 mins to warm up, you take it as if it was a race and give your 100% on an exercise that as supposed to be taken easy). To avoid this happening, we need to learn about the processes of recovery. And then another big mistake “not because it doesn't hurt means it's healed and I can treat it as if everything is alright” there are certain body processes that the only way through is time without any demands on it, where our nutrients are working Internally to repair that ligament, bone or muscle, and if you use it, even though it doesn't heart, it may keep breaking what tour body is working so hard to rebuild. In the case of going through recovery with a specialist I would recommend d to ask about things implicated on your exercises, like what it is for or in terms of timings and internal structure of it, maybe you will give your physio a harder time haha, but the main point is to learn how to take care of your own body and to learn to listen to it. On this sense, another mistake when recovering is in the muscular difference, you feel alright in terms of how your injury has healed, but it's fundamental to rebuild the zone and surroundings maybe with even more muscle than before so it can control even more the parts that are still weak so to help you protect it and avoid another injury.

Remember eating, resting, your emotional regulation and sports recovery should always be taken with responsibility

And finally, if you are young and have had many injuries of muscular or overdoing it type, then your body is telling you something and it's time to put attention to your general well being, physical and mental, to figure it out, and maybe time for an all round study of your body and its time to help you guide the changes you need to do, with responsibility, so you can perform on your maximum level and avoid the unhealthy patterns.

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