With school now back in session, teenage athletes have already returned to the field. So how can they stay in top-notch competitive shape throughout the season? Read these five tips meant to help teens stay healthy all school year.
1) Maintain a Healthy Diet
Eat and drink smartly to keep your body and mind in tip-top shape for both the classroom and the game. According to KidsHealth, teen athletes may require 2,000 to 5,000 calories a day depending on how active they are. To stay energetic and keep your body in shape, it’s essential to eat three healthy, nutrient-rich meals per day, along with two to three snacks between those meals and plenty of water to stay well-hydrated all day. Eat plenty of protein to help your muscles grow and heal, plenty of healthy carbohydrates for nutritional energy, and stay away from as much processed food as you can. Developing a healthy diet will help you maintain healthy habits as you finish growing into an adult.
2) Give Yourself a Break
With a busy school workload, extracurricular activities, participation in sports, preparing for college admission, maintaining a part-time job, or socializing with family and friends, it can be really hard to have quality time for yourself. Stressed minds and strained muscles won’t help with your busy and active lifestyle, so make sure to fit relaxing activities into your schedule whether it’s an hour or two a night or one full day of the week. Watch your favorite show, take a warm bubble bath, or listen to your favorite music. Relaxing activities and getting enough quality sleep every night will help you just as much as physically training for a marathon or mentally preparing for tomorrow’s big game.
3) Workout in Balance
Practicing with your teammates shouldn’t be the only exercise you are getting. Plan workouts and strength training sessions to get enough aerobic exercise and to work all of your body’s major muscle groups. Explore different exercises like running and swimming for full body workouts. This is key in restoring muscle balance throughout your body and in preventing strains, sprains, and joint and nerve injuries.
4) Stretch, Stretch, Stretch
Like drinking enough water or getting enough sleep, stretching is often overlooked when it comes to staying healthy during the athletic season. After your muscles have warmed up, it’s essential to fit in stretching before and after your workout. During a workout, your muscles are left in a shortened state, and stretching helps to restore muscle balance in the body. Make use of a cool-down activity, and both static and dynamic stretches to get the best out of a workout. Additionally, staying flexible as you age is an excellent idea. It helps you keep your hips and hamstrings flexible, and stretching also keeps your posture strong and balanced and your joints elastic as you age.
5) Maintain Your Equipment
No matter the sport you play, it’s essential to make sure you pay attention to the quality of your equipment and how well it holds up throughout the course of the season. Make sure to buy equipment that fits properly with your body and ability and that will hold up over the course of hundreds of hours of training and exertion. Whether you are a track-and-field star or you shine on the basketball court, have appropriate shoes and make sure they have a durable tread. Replace them every 400 miles (or three to four months) for optimal performance.
These are quick and easy tips for being an athletic powerhouse, but they are essential in staying prepared, healthy, and happy throughout your athletic season. Don’t let your hard work and successful season get sidelined by an easily preventable injury or poor habits.