Written by Ben Ashton, DPT
Having the opportunity of being a student athlete was such an amazing experience. It takes a lot of discipline to balance practices, workouts, games, and school. I remember those times to be the most rewarding yet exhausting moments of my life. Going through Physical Therapy School I have learned a wealth of information and a better understanding of how my body works; and maybe most importantly, how to avoid injury. Here are 5 tips that wish I knew and implemented while I was a student athlete.
- Time management is a huge one. It so important to have routines; otherwise time gets wasted. Routines create habits and consistency that our body craves when we are stressed from balancing the demands of school and sports.
- Wake up at the same time every day. It’s so important to create routines in the morning when you are most tired and want to hit snooze on the alarm clock. Waking up at the same time makes you more mindful about going to bed at a reasonable time, therefore not allowing you to wait until the last minute on an assignment that you normally would have procrastinated on.
- Drink a glass of water when you first wake up. The body becomes dehydrated overnight and replenishing hydration is key. Recovery is so important when the next workout is right around the corner. Being properly hydrated has also been linked to improved brain function. Completing an easy task like this in the morning gives the brain motivation for being more productive throughout the day.
- Implementing core and stabilization exercises. Yes, the big lifts like squats, dead lifts, etc. are important but make sure you don’t neglect your stabilization and core exercises. These may seem boring and not as important, but they are crucial to the success of your bigger lifts and the prevention of injuries. Allowing your body to focus on its core will help in overall form- which is crucial in maximum athletic performance.
- Take time to stretch. Every athlete’s muscles are are put through the gauntlet and stretching is key to make sure balance is restored. Recovery is such an essential part of the journey as an athlete. No matter the sport, the demands of workouts, practices, and games put a lot of stress on your body. It is critical to make sure your muscles are optimal for performance to prevent injury.
I hope these few tips help you stay injury free and bring your game to new heights. If you are injured and looking to get back to the game you love, give your local Carolina Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine a call to help you get back to competing!