‘I want to be an athlete; what should I keep in mind when training?’


Physical fitness is defined as one’s overall health and well-being, something that allows a person to perform daily activities, sports, and specific training on an everyday basis. As such, if you wish to enhance your physical fitness, especially athletes, bear in mind these set of components, as suggested by Dr Priyanka Shastri, physiotherapist, Masina Hospital, Mumbai.

*Endurance/flexibility
*Muscular strength
*Cardio-respiratory endurance
*Body composition
*Workouts
*Nutrition
*Hydration

*Workouts can be varied or specific, depending on the game or sport, and may include exercises to improve muscle strength, response time, and mental fitness. Functional exercises can also be done as the aim of these exercises is to train a specific set of muscles that can be used in sports and also prevent muscle injury. However, the set of exercises should be changed regularly with different types of cardio so that the practitioner does not hit a plateau.

*Hydration is an extremely important aspect of athletic performance. It needs to be prioritised. While exercising, the body temperature increases to an extent and produces heat and sweat, which leads to the loss of fluids. One can lose up to 0.5-1itres of fluids during an intense exercise routine, so it is advisable to have 1 – 1.5 litres of water per hour during a workout or physical training. Along with hydration, replenishment of electrolytes is also important to keep cramps, spasms, and irregular and rapid heartbeat during training or workout at bay.

‘I want to be an athlete; what should I keep in mind when training?’ Warm up and cool down exercise adds to the recovery phase. (Source: Getty/ Thinkstock)

*Also, your recovery time should be adequate. After an intense workout or training, the muscles need time to heal and the body to replenish the energy storage. Warm up and cool down exercises like stretching (that allow the muscles to cool down), soft tissue massages — which improve athletic performance — help during the recovery phase. Massage also helps to realign muscle tissue, reduce inflammation and tightness that, in turn, aids in proper circulation. Self-massage using foam rollers are also a good option.

*Finally, what you eat makes a huge difference. It’s important to avoid simple carbohydrates and simple sugars. Instead, go for healthier alternatives like complex carbohydrates (whole wheat foods, wholesome vegetables). Those exercising or training for more than 90 minutes should eat or drink more carbohydrates along with proteins. Generally, 2:1 carbohydrate protein ratio is sufficient. Proteins is also an important aspect for muscle growth and tissue repair. It can be used by body for energy, but only after carbohydrates reserves have been used up.

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