National Sports Day is celebrated annually in India on August 29 to commemorate the birthday of hockey legend, Major Dhyan Chand and is dedicated to Indian sports heroes and champions, honoring their contribution and dedication to bringing laurels in the country. As we extend the festivities this week with the aim of raising awareness of the values of sport: discipline, perseverance, sportsmanship, team spirit and to encourage the general public to take up sport and make it an integral part of their life while emphasizing the importance of being fit and healthy, we tapped a few experts to reveal medically-backed health tips to boost an athlete’s fitness.
Sports activities, as beneficial as they are to our overall health, can sometimes be the cause of visible or underlying injuries that may require immediate medical attention. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Aashish Contractor, consultant at the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Center at the Center for Rehabilitation Medicine and Sports Medicine, said: “There is no optimal time to exercise or engage in sporting activities, in terms of time of day, meaning you can exercise in the morning, afternoon or evening, with benefits similar. What is important is the timing of activity in relation to adequate sleep and nutrition.
He advised: “An athlete should have an individualized plan to improve their fitness as it relates to their specific sport. General fitness means staying physically active every day and doing structured exercise, at least 3 days a week for 30-60 minutes, which can be as simple as a brisk walk. Fitness includes a set of components that include endurance/flexibility, muscle strength, cardio-respiratory endurance and body composition and to improve fitness, primarily in athletes, includes many components like workouts, nutrition and hydration.
Stating that physical fitness defines a state of bodily health and well-being, which enables one to perform specific training in sport or in daily activities or occupation, Dr. Priyanka Shastri, Consultant Physiotherapist at Masina Hospital, Mumbai , suggested:
1. Workouts may vary depending on the specific game or sport. These workouts will ultimately help improve muscle strength, response time, and mental fitness that are essentially needed on the ground. Functional exercises can also be included in training or workouts since the main focus of these exercises is to train a specific set of muscles. To ensure that there is no plateau build-up, the sets of exercises performed should be changed regularly.
2. Hydration is an essential aspect of athletic performance. Staying hydrated should be a priority. Our body temperature rises during exercise and produces heat. As sweating occurs, the body begins to cool, which leads to loss of fluids. One can lose up to 0.5 to 1 liter of fluid during a strenuous exercise routine, so it is advisable to have 1 to 1.5 liters of water per hour during training or physical training.
3. There should be adequate recovery time because after intense training muscles need time to heal. The body needs to replenish energy storage. Warm-up and cool-down exercises are added to the cool-down phase, such as stretching and soft tissue massage that improve athletic performance. Massage also helps realign muscle tissue, reducing inflammation and tightness and thus aids in good circulation. Self-massage in the form of foam rollers is a simple and inexpensive way to achieve recovery.
4. Eating good food is one of the most important parts of improving athletic performance. Simple carbs and simple sugars should be avoided and trying to switch to healthier alternatives like complex carbs (whole wheat foods, healthy vegetables). Generally, a 2:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is sufficient. Protein is also one of the most important aspects for muscle growth and the repair of body tissues, but it is only after depletion of carbohydrate stores that protein can be used by the body for the production of carbohydrates. ‘energy.