With the competitive season well under way, many athletes are probably looking forward to the Winter Break and sleeping in. The break should be a time to recover, recharge and refuel. What can you do during your time off to ensure you return to competition stronger?
Rehabilitating Your Injuries
The number one goal of the break should be to recover. Training and competition for student athletes can be time consuming. On top of their academic workload, injuries often get ignored. One of the main risk factors for a new injury is an old injury, especially if it was never fully rehabilitated. Lingering injuries can wreak havoc on your form and performance, and potentially make the injury worse, or even lead to a new injury. If you’ve been waiting for that nagging pain to go away and it still hasn’t, then make good use of your free time during the break. Get in to see a therapist and have it assessed and treated. Once the injury is healed, work on strengthening around the area in order to prevent future injuries.
Active Recovery – Cross Train
Recovery is extremely important during any sport season. Most athletes look forward to resting and decreasing their training during the winter break. Rest doesn’t necessarily mean sitting on the couch and watching Christmas movies all day. It usually involves low intensity, fun recreational activities, in addition to watching movies. These activities might include something unstructured like going for a hike, skating with friends, or even hitting the gym.
This transition period in sport is also a great time to cross train with a different activity and move your body in a different way. Not only will this help with injury prevention, but it can also help maintain your fitness level and improve your performance.
Focus on Your Mental Health
Training for a sport is physically exhausting, but it can also have a psychological toll on an athlete; from the stress of performing at a certain level to the anxieties of managing school work. The winter break is a great time to re-evaluate your goals for the season and focus on relaxation and stress reduction skills, such as 10 minutes of meditation and mindfulness training every day. Try to maintain some form of a routine, as for some athletes, the lack of structure during a break can increase feelings of stress and anxiety. Lastly, don’t forget the importance of sleep. Sleep is an integral part of physical and mental recovery. It has been shown that improved sleep quality and duration are associated with improved performance and decreased risk of injury in athletes.
If you want more information on how to treat your current injuries or develop a specific training program to reduce the risk of injury, your Sheddon Therapists can get you started. Book online here.