Here’s What Stress is Doing to Your Performance

No matter what level you are in sports, to do your best in all areas (including but not limited to your performance), you need to contend with stress. There is good stress, like the joy of finally being able to buy a house and bad stress, like handling all the paperwork and financing that goes along with it.

In the athletic sense, stress really should not be viewed as a negative. You have non-training stress and training stress, and knowing how these types of stress affect your body, mind, energy, hormones, and performance, holds the key to your future successes.

As you may have guessed, non-training stress comes from the things that sprout up in your life that have nothing to do with getting in the game. It might be your regular 9 to 5 job, trouble at home, financial concerns, or a number of other challenges. This type of life stress needs to be managed though as it can negatively affect your endocrine system.

Stress tends to send cortisol, the stress hormone, along with testosterone, off the charts. It is what gives you the fight-or-flight response you’re born with. An imbalance in these hormones affects any training you’ve done to this point. You need to cope with stress efficiently to manage your hormones otherwise all that work you’ve done will go to waste in your performance.

Athletes also find themselves with training stress that comes from physical activity. This is a good kind of stress though that can shake up cardiovascular, hormonal, and musculoskeletal systems for better performance. However, it requires fine-tuning and balance as with too much, you can over-train and wind up with an injury.

Now that you know what stress is doing to your performance, you can put that knowledge to good use. Reduce stress in your life by taking time for yourself. Meditate, work in some yoga, stretch, read, and do whatever makes you feel like yourself again.

As for training stress, know when you’re exceeding your limitations. Getting there is really the best part of the journey in sports. With everything, there needs to be balance so you can truly tip the scales in your favor and win at your game when the time is right to strike.

How Sleep Quality Impacts Your Athletic Recovery

Famous or not, every athlete finds joy in playing their chosen sport. Training to get to the top will always be important, as will nutrition, but many athletes are surprised to find just how much sleep quality impacts their recovery and performance.

In fact, when you get better sleep, particularly in the REM cycle, you have more energy for both your brain and body. Losing sleep means your body doesn’t get that precious time it needs to clean up the clutter by repairing your memory, your cells, and releasing hormones.

That is why, whether you’re training for the ultimate event or trying to recover, sleep is one of the best remedies for any athlete. Experts recommend 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Doing so not only keeps your mood on balance, but it also boosts your concentration and performance.

Sports involve quick thinking and even quicker action. If you deny yourself solid sleep quality, you will lose that split-second instinct and either miss your shot or wind up with an injury that will take you out of the season until you’re recovered. Additionally, going without enough sleep can increase cortisol, the stress hormone, along with glycogen and carbohydrates that your body has stored to use during physical activity.

Sleep quality, along with plenty of hydration and proper nutrition, is really the key to performance and good health. If you want to keep competing, be it for fun or professionally, you’ve got to take the time to do what the most finely-tuned athletes the world over do…get the sleep you need!

4 Techniques that Aid Athletic Recovery

After an injury, setting aside time for recovery is critical to get back to your chosen sport. But recovery is not some one-size-fits-all bundle. It requires a merger of different techniques that target your overall health and wellness with a focus on healing.

Each of the different recovery measures take aim at both physiological and psychological adaptation and once successfully carried out, it prepares the body for the next physically stressful workout or week. Aside from the obvious of treating the specific injury as directed by medical professionals, there are basic steps every athlete can take to bring their recovery full circle.

Here are 4 of the most popular methods to improve your recovery:

  1. Massage
    Ideally, massage is something that should be used both before and after performances. Many athletes still only utilize the power of massage afterward. Taking time for massage prior to the event gets muscles ready and prevents injury while afterward, it helps them recover more quickly. After an injury, massage is still important as it can speed the circulation of blood flow and help relieve injuries more quickly.
  2. Sleep
    For recovery to truly work, athletes need to make time for proper sleep. Losing out on sleep from stress or by staying up working on physical therapy exercises will not help anything. Take the time to unwind and truly get the deep sleep your body needs to make a full recovery.
  3. Nutrition
    Eat well each day and you will find a healthier road to recovery ahead. The foods you eat should focus on giving you the optimum nutrients and nourishment even when you’re on the sidelines. This will help power you through your recovery training and help you get back to how you felt before the injury.
  4. Wear Compression Clothing
    Compression garments help reduce swelling and create a stable alignment for muscles. They also reduce inflammation and help muscles on their way to recovery. In addition to the other recovery modalities, compression clothing can be of great assistance.

Integrating these simple strategies into your routine as directed by a medical professional will certainly minimize the time you spend recovering on the sidelines, allowing you to get back to what you love faster.