The Health & Wellness Corner is brought to you on a monthly basis by students in Waukee High School's APEX program. In consultation with fitness experts from Premier Athlete Training, students research a variety of health & wellness topics focused on improving the well-being of student-athletes. We'll also share a new a variety of fitness tips every month related to the primary topic discussed.
This month's Health & Wellness Corner written by Sophie Havnen, Waukee APEX Associate
Recovery for Student-Athletes
Importance of Physical Recovery
Recovery allows the body to recharge one's energy and repair damaged tissues. Without sufficient time to repair and replenish, the body will continue to break down from intensive exercise.
Short Term Recovery: This involves a cool-down phase both immediately after an intense workout and also during the days following. Short term recovery is also replenishing an athlete's energy with the right foods and drinks (carbs and proteins) after the workout, and getting quality sleep to prevent stress and allow the muscles to recover.
Long Term Recovery: These techniques are built into seasonal training, they include recovery days and/or weeks, adding cross-training, and modifying workouts by making changes in intensity, time, and distance.
Recovery Techniques for Student-Athletes
Hydrotherapy: The changes in blood flow and temperature can affect inflammation, immune function, muscle soreness, and perception of fatigue. It is beneficial for endurance-trained athletes, and those performing at a high-intensity.
Stretching: Stretching speeds up the process of recovery by preparing the muscles to receive the nutrients they need. It improves power output, range of motion, and muscle soreness.
The Role of Nutrition
Because the athlete’s body is working harder to heal, it will need more energy through food, meaning increased calories.
- Creatine has been shown to help with strength improvement and to prevent a decrease in GLUT4 concentration during immobilization of the injury.
- Vitamin D is vital in building strong muscles, and getting enough can be a big role in preventing injuries and stress fractures.
- Consuming carbohydrates and protein immediately after a workout has been shown to replenish energy stores and prevent muscle breakdown.
Importance of Mental Recovery
The best time for a break is when your motivation and excitement are still relatively high. Once burnout has occurred, it’s harder to recover and find your motivation again. Not every break has to be long, or after your season is over. Just taking small breaks can be vital in maintaining an athlete's focus and motivation. Athletes may experience low concentration, lack of motivation, and increased levels of anxiety from intense training and demanding performance. Athletes need to give themselves time to disengage mentally from their training or competitive performance to help prevent those symptoms.
The IGHSAU Health & Wellness Corner is created by high school students in Waukee High School's APEX program. The IGHSAU is thankful for its partnership with Waukee APEX to create meaningful content to share with our member schools, student-athletes, coaches, and fans. To learn more about Waukee APEX, click here.