Regenerating your body is about making healthy choices. Every time you train you stress your body physically and mentally. When you are not training you should make choices that maintain a healthy balance. This means choosing activities and actions that benefit you overall to keep you healthy and happy.
Did you know that you can help regenerate yourself by…
- Think prevention – Most sports injuries are preventable. It is up to you to play within the rules, wear the appropriate gear (clothing, footwear, and equipment), and make sure you are physically and mentally prepared to play.
- Promptly treating injuries – Listen to your body. Pain is a warning sign that should not be ignored. Early identification and treatment of an injury will allow for minimal interruptions in your training schedule. Should you sustain an injury, such as a joint sprain, muscle pull, or contusion, promptly apply the PRICE principle:
* Protect the part of the body that is injured with the appropriate bandage or wrap.
* Restrict Activity or rest the injured area until an accurate diagnosis can be made.
* Ice for approximately 20 minutes at a time, allowing approximately 1 hour in between treatments. Do this as often as possible for the first 24 to 72 hours.
* Compress through the application of an elastic tensor bandage to help reduce swelling, pain, bruising and other signs of inflammation (especially when combined with ice and elevation).
* Elevate by raising the injured area above the level of the heart to assist in reducing swelling often associated with injury.
- Modifying your training when injured or ill – It is very unlikely that you can 'run through' an injury or 'run out' a common cold without suffering the consequences. When you are injured, pain is telling your body that something is wrong and you need to pay attention to it. When you have a cold, your body is in a weakened state and exercise will only aggravate your condition and weaken you further.
- Taking care when returning to activity following injury – Athletes frequently compromise their immediate or future health by returning to sport too soon following an injury. Follow your health care provider’s advice and you will return to sport ready to go.
- Monitoring your heart rate. Check your resting pulse as soon as you wake up and record it in your diary. An increase of more than 5 beats per minute can be a warning sign of overtraining if it does not return to normal in a couple of days. If you feel more tired than usual during a workout, check your training pulse. If it is higher than usual and does not return to normal during your next workout, this is also an early warning sign that you are training too hard and risk burnout.
- Listening to your body. Learn to be sensitive to the sometimes subtle signs of overall fatigue. If you notice the following signs and symptoms then be flexible in your routine to give your body time to recover.
o Poor and careless performance.
o Greater tolerance for error.
o More difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly.
o Inattention to minor but potentially important details.
o Increased lapses of attention.
o Increased irritability.
o Decreased motivation.
o Slow reaction time.
o Impaired communication and cooperation, particularly when working as a team.
o Complaints of headache, stomach, or other problems.
o Feelings of depression.
o Poor morale.
o Loss of appetite.
o Weight loss.
- Being aware of your moods. Keep a record of your moods in your training journal and how you feel about family, friends, and the people you work with (teammates and coaches). Unusual irritation, anger, frustration, low spirits or lack of motivation about any of your activities may be signs that your body is about to rebel.
- Managing your stress and time. There are a number of strategies that can assist you in learning how to de-stress and manage your time better. These strategies should become a regular part of your routine because they can help you deal with sport related stress, daily hassles, and major life events. With practice it is possible to remain calm under all stressful situations.
- Keeping a training journal. In addition to documenting your training progress it is important to document the things mentioned above (sleep, body soreness, moods, stress, etc). This makes it easier for you to identify any patterns that may fall into the category of overtraining and then take the necessary steps to turn things around.
- Consulting regularly with your coach. Keep your coach up to date with events that are happening in your life. Together you can discuss your training progress and adapt your program accordingly. Sometimes it can also be beneficial to talk with a friend or even a counselor if you are experiencing a lot of worries or stress.
Overall, the more in tune you are with your body the smarter it will work to regenerate and recover. Use your progress (training log) and support group (coaches and teammates) to monitor signs for fatigue that can lead to overtraining. Prevention is the key so pay attention to injuries, monitoring your heart rate and mood, and using positively strategies to manage stress. Use an overall approach that brings balance to your physical and mental health.
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