Three Myths of Sports Fitness
By: Sabrina Wayt, DPT
As the new school year begins and sports start back up again, we have to keep in mind the health of our bodies. Let’s talk about the best way to maintain and prepare your body for the game time. Three myths about sports fitness are carb loading, static stretching, and playing through injury.
Carb loading. We have heard this for years, have a big spaghetti dinner the night before a big game, but what are you actually doing to you body? When we load up on starchy carbs such as pastas, bread, and potatoes we are actually filling the body with carbs that turn into sugar and can only be stored in the liver for up to 12 hours. Thus, these will no longer be useful the next day when it comes to an event. Carbohydrates that are best include fibrous carbs which include but are not limited to cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, and peas. A well balanced meal high in vitamins, minerals, proteins and fibrous carbohydrates make for the optimal fuel.
Stretching prior to sport activity. The best time to stretch is actually after you are done participating in an activity. Before participating in athletics, it is better to get a proper warm-up such as jogging and doing sport associated drills. Static stretching (holding a stretch without movement) does not properly warm up the tissues the way an actual warm up does and there is no specific evidence that stretching prior to a sport prevents injury. When stretching avoid ballistic stretching which persist of bouncing movements in attempt to further reach or activate muscles. Warm-up should be 15 minutes to get your heart rate up and circulation moving blood to the muscles.
Playing through injury. Whether it be a sprained ankle, knee, or pulled muscle, what is the best way to quickly treat these injuries to facilitate a quick return to sport? PRICE (P-protect, R-rest, I-Ice, C-compression, E-elevate), physical therapy, and strengthening. An acute injury can become a chronic one. It is better to treat an acute injury right away before it leads to chronic for a faster return to sport. Chronic injuries are also treatable, although this might take more time due to the repetitive stress. Physical therapy will not only promote a quick return to the sport, it will also help prepare you through strengthening and specific sport activities for a stronger and efficient return.
If you or someone you know has a sport related injury or is in risk of one, call Lilly Physical Therapy today! Lilly Physical Therapy can evaluate you for risk of injury and has excellent sport injury prevention and recovery programs. They are able to increase not only strength but flexibility and athletic performance as well. Be an educated informant on your body so you can continue doing the sports and activities you love!
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