More than the Sport: Health and Safety

What do you think about a racing car compared to an ordinary commuter car? They are too different. A racing car deals with more stress and strain in one race than a commuter car does in many years of driving a few miles each day back and forth. A racing car uses up far more rubber, more gasoline, more oil and creates more heat and wear and tear on the engine than does considerable commuting in the family car. So, sportsmen also requires extra strengths and skills than an ordinary person to reach their goals.

A lot of endurance is needed for sportsmen for their daily exercises, practices as well as in tournaments to perform at their peak to go for record breaking performances. Eating a healthy diet plays an important role to perform well in tournaments. Without adequate amount of carbohydrates, proteins, fiber and fats, their muscles will not get energy to perform at optimal levels. Having a diet that includes 70% of its calories from carbohydrates is a good practice. Players should avoid sugary foods within 30 minutes of starting an activity, to avoid dehydration. In long tournament sessions, carbs, minerals and water need to be replenished as energy gets depleted while playing. Eating high quality proteins such as lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, beans, eggs and milk without excess amounts is a good practice. Drinking milk is advised after an event as it provides good balance of carbohydrates and proteins.

Excessive levels of fat in the body can cause negative impacts on performance. If a sportsman is overweight or obese, they need to change their weight and body composition to be competitive. Weight management should be done with proper care. Otherwise they will have to face additional problems. For weight loss, sportsmen need to eat fewer calories. So it is ideal to loose fat in the off season to avoid it being difficult to perform well in tournaments. Also they should not cut calories drastically as that too can cause illnesses. Eating less added sugar and more fiber, more protein, proper refueling after training or competing will help to maintain sports performance during weight loss.

Though sportsmen have good physical fitness, they are much prone to injuries and medical issues such as broken bones, strained muscles, heat stroke, heart problems, asthma and overtraining syndrome etc. So they should pay special attention on prevention of such problems because sometimes these issues can even cause death. Proper warm up is extremely important for a sportsman as that increases the heart rates, increases the body and blood temperature, improves muscle elasticity and reduces risk of strains and pulls. Having a balanced diet, weight training, taking breaks, wearing protective equipment (helmets, mouth guards, protective eye wear, shoes, safety pads and guards) will help them avoid injuries and create a safe environment in sports activities.

It is heartbreaking to hear that some sportsmen have to say good bye to their beloved career due to unexpected injuries. So health and safety go hand in hand with sportsmen and they should pay their utmost attention to this, more than to the rules of games. Good health is an indicator of a true sportsman, whereas healthy sportsmen are good symbols of a country. So from ground levels, it’s important to top up the health of upcoming sportsmen who are the next hope of the country.

Article by: Nethumini Palihawadana

Edited by: Yumna Albar

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