Drink plenty of fluids—Athletes should be consuming 8-10 glasses of cold fluids per day. When athletic activities begin, 12-20 glasses should be consumed. Cold fluids should not include beverages with caffeine (i.e. pop, coffee, or tea). Athletes should stay hydrated throughout their activities and should have access to water frequently. As temperatures increase outdoors, it is important to stay hydrated before, during, and after exercise.
Choose your diet wisely—Athletic activity requires the increased need for appropriate calories. Athletes should increase their intake of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates include breads, fruits, and vegetables. Athletes should also reduce their fats, oils, and sweets intake. Eating a healthy breakfast before athletic activities is highly recommended. It is also important to eat appropriate foods throughout the day.
Stretch, stretch, stretch—Athletes should be stretching throughout the day to increase flexibility as well as prevent injuries. Sore muscles are common during the first few days of practice. However, neglecting to stretch muscles and joints that are sore can result in injury as well as lost practice time. Stretching should not be painful. Dynamic stretching (stretching with movement) and static stretching (stretching while remaining still) should help flexibility and reduce injuries.
Rest—The body needs time to recover after rigorous athletic activity. Resting also includes appropriate sleep time. The more energy our bodies expend, the more rest our bodies need. Athletes during “Two-A Days” and during the season need 8-12 hours of sleep. Athletes should try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule and should consume beverages without caffeine to help promote rest.
Ice is Nice, Beat the Heat—Applying ice to sore and achy muscles helps promote tissue healing and a shorter recovery time. In hot, humid temperatures, ice can also be used to cool the body down. Soaking sore muscles in tubs or bath increases blood flow to the injured area, which can ultimately provide more harm than good. Keeping the injured area elevated above the heart is commonly overlooked when icing is applied. Ice should NOT be used on cuts or abdominal injuries as this can further the extent of the injury. Please report to your Athletic Trainer all abdominal injuries.
Keep blisters moist—Blisters are very common during the first two weeks of the season and can be very irritating and discomforting. Giving ample time to break in new shoes and cleats can prevent blisters. Another preventative tip is to change your socks before each practice. Blisters commonly form along the heel of new shoes and are the result of friction between the foot and the shoe. Applying vasoline or skin lubricant to the back of the heel can reduce the risk of getting a blister. If you get a blister, keep the area moist with antiobiotic cream and covered. This should be done BEFORE practice.
It is important to report any injury concern to your Athletic Trainer, coach, medical personnel and parents/guardians.
About Michigan Athletic Trainers
Michigan Athletic Trainers is a company dedicated to providing Certified Athletic Trainers to local schools, organizations, and rehabilitation clinics. Our mission is to provide high quality athletic training services to athletes of all ages and abilities. Please visit our web-site at www.michiganathletictrainers.com