How to improve performance in sports

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Sports have an enormous influence on your health and fitness. They provide you with an interesting routine and fresh feeling. Involving in physical activities like sports improves your heart health, reduces blood pressure, controls diabetes, and lowers stress levels.

Why sports is important to play at all stages of life: 

  • Sports reduce stress. Sports help you reduce stress since physical activity causes your body to release healthy hormone endorphins that relieve pain and stress. Involving in sports also reduces stress hormones, cortisol, and adrenaline. Studies have found that 30-40 minutes of exercise every day can make people feel healthy and calmer.
  • Sports help you remain physically fit. Playing your favorite sports regularly can help you achieve your fitness goals and reduce extra weight. However, being involved in healthy sports habits also encourages you to take healthy decision-making such as not smoking and not drinking. Sports also have extra health benefits such as lowering the chance of osteoporosis since sports build bone density or reducing the risk of breast cancer in women later in life
  • Sports improve productivity. Since sports raise your energy levels, reduce stress, and make you eat a nutritious diet by being more aware of health thus improving general well-being. You feel better and energized which allows you to be efficient and effective at all tasks in life thus improving productivity drastically.
  • Sports reduce the risk of diseases. Getting indulged in physical activities like sports improves your heart function, controls blood sugar, and lowers stress. It also brings positive energy and makes you more productive which decreases the risk of both physical and mental illness.
  • Sport teaches many leadership qualities. Sports help you build good qualities like resilience, leadership, accountability, respect, and patience. These lessons help you develop as a good person and boost your confidence.
  • Allows you to sleep better. Engaging in sports allows you to be physically exhausted and gives you good sleep at night. Sleeping is a big problem in modern times because of higher stress levels, thus sports give you an outlet to reduce tension and good sleep to counter the next day.
  • Sports give you community. Indulging in team sports allows you to interact with other players. You can talk to them about sports and life in general. You can also find some good friends while enjoying your favorite sports. 

 What sports you should play?

You can play any sports you like based on your likes, age, fitness goals, and physical strength. Swimming and golf are low-impact sports that you can play your whole life. Similarly, Tennis and Soccer can be challenging but give you a better exercise. You can join a fitness club to do aerobics and cycling too. 

How to improve performance in sports

Though starting to play a sport in itself is a good decision. However playing mediocre will not give you enough incentive to remain in the long term, you need to perform better than average to be able to play in the long term and reap the benefit.

So how can you perform better?

  • Do regular stretching and exercise to improve strength. Stretching regularly and doing exercise increases muscle tone, increases circulation, and improves strength to play better. If you play tennis you need to strengthen your legs so doing some bodyweight squats with stretching can improve your game.
  • Sticking to the right habits. Everyone can live a healthy life and improve his performance regardless of the genes they were born with. Your athletic ability isn’t based on your genes; it’s written in your daily habits and it’s important to stick to the right habit so that you can become better every day.
  • Eat clean and nutritious food. Good nutrition is paramount for sporting performance. A well-planned, nutritious diet should meet your vitamin and mineral needs, and provide enough energy to perform and enough protein to promote muscle growth. Foods rich in good carbohydrates, and protein like whole grains and cereals, should form the basis of the diet.
  • Supplementing your Diet. Supplementation can help meet the higher nutritional needs of your more demanding lifestyle like active sport. A high level of physical activity demands your body for very specific minerals or vitamins which can be met by supplements.
  • Make recovery a priority. Recovery is an essential part of any training program. Recovery allows your body to heal itself in preparation for the next day’s load and decreases the risk of injury. All these benefits allow for the attainment of your performance goal. You can even use recovery techniques for athletes like hydrotherapy, active recovery, stretching, compression garments,  and massage.
  • Get quality sleep. When you learn new skills, sleep helps form memories, and helps you reinforce learning to improve performance in the future. Sleep is important for recovery and maintaining your mental health. Quality sleep is also associated with improved freshness and mood.
  • Hydration is important. As you exercise your core body temperature rises. In response, the body sweats to maintain the body temperature. Staying hydrated will replace the water you lose and is essential to prevent cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
  • Pushing the limits. Pushing your limits is a characteristic of a mentally tough sportsperson that allows you to know your limits and improve your performance. 
  • Get help from a professional player. Taking lessons or two from a professional will make you a better player. If you get a chance you can train with them or take training from a coach. Even reading about them and viewing them can help you. 

Carbs are important for sports person

Eating is important for everyone and for sports people eating well is essential. Carbs are important for you because they are glucose molecules stored in the liver and muscles to be used for fuel. Carbohydrates improve your game by delaying fatigue and allowing sports person to compete at higher levels for a longer time. 

Best Carbs for Athletes

  1. Oats.
  2. Brown Rice. 
  3. Chickpeas.
  4. Banana. 
  5. Sweet Potatoes. 

Protein is a must for a sports person

Protein needs for a sports person are greater than for the average sedentary individual. Since sports people need to build and lean muscles and repair the cells more. 

Source for good protein

  1. Lean meats – Beef, lamb, pork.
  2. Poultry – Chicken, eggs,  turkey, duck.
  3. Fish – fish, prawns, crab, oysters.
  4. Dairy  – Milk, yogurt, cheese.

Fruits and vegetables 

Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals thus forming nature’s vitamin pills, and should be an essential part of your diet. Because they contain micronutrients and antioxidants that reduce inflammation, eating fruits and vegetables also helps you in recovery from injury. Another advantage of vegetables for you is they provide good hydration, a factor that can limit your performance. 

Green leafy vegetables are a must in your diet which includes spinach, mustard greens, kale, Brussel sprouts, swiss chard, and lettuce. Fruit includes orange, grapefruit, lemon, apples, pears, apricot, cherry, plum, peach, nectarine, mango, pomegranate, blackberries, blueberries, grapes, and watermelon.

Sports supplements to improve performance

Sports supplements can build your muscle, help you lose weight, and may improve endurance. Supplements are helpful since many times you don’t get enough nutrition from food sources alone. Some good supplements can be 

  • B vitamins.
  • Iron.
  • Calcium and vitamin D.
  • Whey protein
  • Fish oil
  • Branched-chain amino acids.
  • Caffeine.
  • Creatine.
  • Beetroot/beet juice.

Foods that sports person should avoid

  • Limit Sports Drinks.  Sports drinks may allow you to perform by providing energy to muscles and the brain. Sports drinks can also help you meet nutrition recovery goals by replacing fluids and electrolytes lost in sweat. However, the high sugar content and low pH increase the risk of obesity, Diabetes, and heart disease and affect the tooth enamel.  
  • Avoid Soda. Soda and carbonated drinks are not good fluids to hydrate. High Sugar content in soda gives your body a spike in blood sugar and will stop your body from using fats and protein for energy. 
  • Avoid protein and energy Bars. Protein bars and energy bars are convenient sources of nutrients however they are highly processed and can’t compare to eating a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts. 
  • Avoid alcohol. If you drink alcohol at least once per week you have a higher risk of injury. Consuming alcohol regularly reduces immunity and slows the healing process from sports-related injuries.

Sports for women

Sport has the power to change life and perception about health. Sports can bring gender equality by teaching women teamwork, resilience, and confidence. Women active in sports break gender stereotypes and inspire other women to bring positive change, and show men and women as equals.

Sports can help reduce the risk of breast cancer in women by up to 20-40%. Girls who play sports have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem and lower levels of stress. Girls and women who play regular sports have a more positive body image about themselves and experience better emotional well-being than girls and women who do not play sports.

Why sports is essential for children 

Sports are more important for kids since they are nowadays more hooked to social media and online gaming. They don’t like to go outdoors, which increases the risk of childhood obesity and risk of health problems later in adulthood. Sports not only improve physical health but also teach children essential skills that increase the chances they will become better citizens. Be a role model and encourage your children to get into sports.

Sports encourage the healthy development of life skills in children. By participating in sports and games, a child builds his character and gains confidence which is helpful for developing their personality.

Benefits of sport for children

  • Reduced risk of childhood obesity.
  • Increased cardiovascular fitness.
  • Healthy bones and muscles growth
  • Improved dexterity, coordination, and balance.
  • A greater ability to relax and mental clarity.

Sports in old age

Older people looking for companionship and opportunities to socialize, rather than play competitively in sports. Older people also may experience decreasing flexibility, and strength and find it harder to recover.  From the age of 50, muscle mass and overall strength start to reduce. Staying active could increase muscle mass and bone density with reduced stress from companionship.

What sports activities are good for older people

  • Swimming. Swimming gives your body a complete workout.
  • Cycling. Cycling doesn’t put pressure on joints and is good exercise. 
  • Golf.

By John Gurung

A former software developer who is now a blogging enthusiast. A true digital nomad.

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