Athletes push their bodies to boundaries non-athletes aren’t accustomed to pushing. Whether you’re a serious athlete or someone who enjoys sport for the fun of the game, or even someone who cycles or runs for pleasure, you push your body. Part of being an athlete means being strong both mentally and physically. You want to be the best you can be. You make goals, you push yourself to accomplish those goals, and then you make bigger goals. Athletes are inspiring, and improving your athletic performance regularly is what keeps you motivated. Take your motivation and apply some of these amazing tips for increasing your athletic performance to your lifestyle. They might surprise you.
The single most important thing you can do for your health and overall athletic performance is hydrate. No athlete is capable of improving performance on the road or on a bike without being hydrated. The dangers of dehydration are numerous, and they affect everyone. To improve your athletic performance, it’s imperative you drink water regularly. Remember that it’s always better to hydrate than to rehydrate. Don’t limit yourself to sipping when you’re feeling thirsty. It’s a myth that all people should take in at least 8 glasses of water each day. It’s more appropriate to take in the amount of water necessary for your age, weight, height, and overall health. Remember to drink frequently while performing, but don’t forget to drink often when you’re going about your day-to-day activities as well.
Eat A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is the cornerstone for overall physical and mental wellness. Without good health, you’re incapable of becoming a good athlete. Your diet should be rich in foods that provide energy when you cycle or run. Consuming too much sugar and bad fats can slow your performance, cause unhealthy highs and lows in blood sugar, and increase the risk of health complications down the road. The ideal diet for an athlete to promote peak performance is rich in foods such as:
- Lean fats
- Healthy fats
- Healthy carbs
Each person has a unique set of dietary needs, which enables you to make proper nutrition decisions. The number of calories your body needs each day to provide it with enough energy to perform at your peak level depends on several factors, including age, weight, and gender. If you’re unsure how many calories you can safely consume each day to ensure peak performance, talk to your nutritionist or doctor.
Wear the Right Apparel
There are those who consider it a waste of time to choose the right clothing for sports. You’re out working, sweating, and you’re not focusing on how you look. What these people fail to realize is your clothing either helps or harms your athletic performance. Regardless of the season, cotton should be avoided as it is abrasive and retains water. Your favorite physical activity has specialized clothing designed to optimize performance. This specialized clothing will naturally be ideal for you. For example, cyclists can purchase specialized shorts to help prevent chafing and pain from sitting for long periods of time. Some of these even have comfortable gel padding in the pelvic and inner thigh regions. Runners should use synthetic clothing or undergarments to prevent rubbing and chafing. Something as simple as choosing the right v neck undershirt can make a difference in the time it takes you to finish your next race. Paul Evans recommends UnderFit.
Get Fit for Shoes
Much like your apparel should complement your sport of choice, your shoes should do the same. In fact, your shoes are probably the best way to improve your athletic performance no matter what sport you prefer. Runners require specific shoes designed to protect their feet, ankles, and knees from the different injuries and wear and tear common in runners. Cyclists don’t need to worry about the harsh impact of running, but their shoes should seat properly on the petals, especially if they are using clip-in petals.
It’s imperative you are fitted for your shoes. Improving your athletic performance is as simple as getting fitted for the right shoes. If you think you’re one size, you could be incorrect. Standard shoe-sizes don’t account for foot width or arch structure. Professionals know how to accurately fit your feet. When your shoes fit perfectly, they are safer, more effective, and better able to keep your feet and legs healthy and free of injury. Specialty running shops such as the Runner’s Corner exist in most communities that provide expertise in this area.
Form A Relationship With Your Doctor
Athletes require a good doctor, even more so than the average citizen. When you spend significant time running, cycling, or playing team sports, you put a lot of pressure on your joints, neck, and back. This pressure can help build your body’s resilience, but over time it can harm your overall health. If you are active, you should regularly consult a doctor regarding the short and long term affects of your athletic activities. The two of you should discuss your health, how you should proceed, what safe limits are, and your doctor can tell you when a sore muscle or injury is good or when it’s something you need to worry about. Your doctor is here to keep you healthy. Since being healthy is the best way to increase your athletic performance, he or she is a person you should put on your speed dial.
Always Warm Up
Serious athletes know warming up is the most important part of the game. Without proper warm-up before participating in any sport, you put your body at increased risk for injury. Even if the injuries aren’t serious, they’re going to affect your time, your performance, and your confidence. Imagine being a runner who doesn’t warm up properly before a big race. You near the end of the race and feel a cramp in your leg, and it slows you down. Not only did you not win the race, you didn’t meet the time you set as a goal. This cramp could have been avoided if you took the time to property stretch your muscles and prepare your body for the race.
Proper stretching and warm-up techniques are often underrated. Modern scientists recommend dynamic stretching before a workout and deep static stretching after. Make sure that these dynamic stretches are providing enough of a stretch to restore adequate range of motion to avoid injury. Every athlete needs to focus on specific muscle groups depending on your sport, and your doctor or trainer can provide you with a list of stretches beneficial to your sport and your overall good health. Even when you’re not about to run or cycle, stretching every day is a good health habit to develop.
The average adult requires at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to function properly. Function is a broad term. Your sleep affects the following:
- Brain function
- Emotional well-being
- Physical health
Adequate sleep provides your body with enough time to regenerate and strengthen overnight. When you sleep well, your body rewards you by allowing you to perform better in every aspect of life, including your athletic performance. Poor sleep habits result in several unfortunate occurrences. Those who sleep poorly are often unable to think clearly, they’re unable to concentrate well, and they are less productive.
When your body is tired, it doesn’t function properly when you perform. As your emotional well-being suffers, so will your motivation to get out and exercise. Without adequate sleep, your immune system weakens. This makes it more likely you’ll catch a cold or flu, you’ll feel unwell, and you won’t have the energy it requires to run or cycle. Your body relies on good sleep to help you heal after injuries, to help you feel fuller longer, and to help your metabolism work at a proper rate.
The good news for athletes looking to improve their athletic performance is you have the ability to sleep better because you live an active lifestyle. Make it a habit to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at roughly the same time each morning. This keeps your body on a schedule, and it allows you to sleep better.
The only way to ensure your body is able to function at its peak performance is to keep it healthy. Your body is the only one you get, so try increasing your athletic performance by caring for it. Don’t use drugs or medications to help you stay up longer, work harder, or get stronger. Respect your body, treat it well, and it will do the same in return. A healthy diet, drinking ample water, and taking care of your body off the road or bike helps to improve your performance everywhere. Your goal might be to become a better athlete, but it doesn’t hurt to become a healthier person in every aspect of life.