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Peak Performance

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

by Caitlin Wilson

No matter the level of athlete, from high school to the pros, everyone is always trying to reach their best version of play out on the field, their most efficient performance. But when it comes to time off the pitch, most athletes neglect to make the most of their time and rest properly. Athletes forget that a large part of how they perform in-game is in large part affected by their time spent on during breaks from exercising and practices. So, this article is dedicated to exemplifying a few ways in which committed athletes can improve their recovery habits and get the most out of their resting.

The all-important subject to understand before diving too deep into resting activities is that athletes need time to rest. Taking a day off here-and-there will not deteriorate all the progress you have made previously, even professional athletes use this method to ease up before and after periods of physically demanding days. Muscles and the nervous system need adequate time to heal and repair themselves in-between high-intensity activity. This is not to say that entire days off are needed though if you prefer to exercise every day. For instance, working out early in the morning one day and at night the next allows for much needed intervals of downtime.

Another method that many athletes use to sufficiently prepare for games the following day or straining movement is to hydrate 24 hours before the said activity. Some athletes try to cram in hydration right before or during a match, and while drinking water or a sports drink before, at breaks, and after a game is not a bad idea, hydrating the day before more properly prepares the body for the intense activity that comes with the sport. Most health experts recommend that drinking 64 ounces, or half a gallon, of water a day. If you plan on doing extreme exercise however this increases substantially by almost double

One routine that most professionals sports teams emphasize that is often overlooked at lower sport levels is the subject of stretching. Every time, prior to and after exercise, athletes should always take at least a few minutes to stretch. This prepares the muscles and ligaments for motion or eases them off the abrupt stop in activity. Doing even a couple of stretches can significantly reduce the chance of injury or strain which allows athletes more time to play than recovering from the brutal injuries prominent in most sports. Practicing both static and dynamic stretches together decreases this injury-prone probability as well.

A few final techniques that can drastically enhance game performance are easy to introduce into your daily routine too. Getting the correct amount of sleep for yourself is always a bona fide recommendation by health officials. Additionally, implementing the use of compression garments such as sleeves or pants into workouts is a well-established method of muscle relaxation used mainly in baseball, but is now carrying across to the majority of sports. Furthermore, to add on to the idea of stretching, massaging out sore muscles either by yourself on a foam roller or by a professional helps break up knots in muscles. Even something as simple as elevating your legs after activity can greatly improve one’s future physical capacity.

In summation, providing time off for yourself and your body to rest from the strenuous sporting world of athletes is a must. Moreover, mental and physical rest are equally important in enabling your cells and muscles to recover. Making sure that you are mentally focused and physically capable of exercise are the most consequential objectives in refining an athlete’s on-field ability and getting them to their peak performance.


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