Athletic me: Your muscles need special care

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Your joints and muscles must be in prime working condition to contribute to your success as an athlete. We compile a 5-step guide to keep your body in mint condition.

An athlete’s life is one of hard work and sacrifices. The rest of the world only sees you on the big stage at major sporting events – nobody is witness to the years of gruelling training, sweat and injuries that you go through on your journey to the top.

As an athlete in training, your body must be in prime condition to bear the rigours of your sport. Here are 5 ways to get rid of muscle pain and keep yourself going for longer:

  1. Early to bed and early to rise. By and large, you are awake when the rest of the world is in deep slumber and you go to bed when most people are leaving their workplaces. Keeping your sleeping times constant keeps your body clock regulated. Do not change your timings during training season.
  2. Your body is fitter because it can go the extra mile. An athlete’s body is conditioned for long hours of brutal training. You might run several kilometres, train your body at the gym, swim, throw a ball around and even go cycling – all in a day! But your muscles and joints take an extra beating, and the high level of training can cause injuries. There are specialised muscle rubs for athletes to go through at the end of the day to remove all the knots and stress from the muscles. This is followed by an ice bath to remove pain and increase blood circulation. Minor muscle pain can be tackled with pain relief cream or spray.
  3. Take care of your joints. As an athlete, you put your body through immeasurable pressure during training. While years of endurance and strength can pull you through daily practice, the major joints in the shoulders, hips, knees and ankles can experience faster wear and tear. Go for regular scans and check-ups to ensure that all your joints are in good condition. If there is an unidentified cause of muscle pain, see a doctor at once.
  4. Soak your muscles. Your muscles are prone to fatigue and must be well-conditioned for you to be able to get out of bed the next day for another gruelling day of training. Keep a pain relief spray in your exercise bag and use it on the painful muscles. If you want to know how to get rid of muscle pain at the end of the day, do this: soak the painful muscle in lukewarm water infused with Epsom salt. The water calms the painful muscles, while the Epsom salt draws out any swelling in the area. It is a good idea to soak both feet in warm water every night to get restful sleep.
  5. Amp up your diet. What you eat determines how quickly you recover from injuries. An athlete’s diet is rich in protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins. If you haven’t already done so, get a diet chart drawn up by a sports nutritionist and stick to the plan religiously. You must eat a certain number of calories every day as per your body type, weight, activity level and chosen sport. Meanwhile, you must eat small meals every few hours apart from drinking about two litres of water to keep the system hydrated.

 

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