Some Lockdown Tips For Athletes
Here's some simple ways to stay mentally and physically fit without leaving your home
Coronavirus pandemic has adversely affected the lives of almost everyone. It has been the most stressful period for us. The lockdown phase impaired various sectors and one of the most affected ones in the sports fraternity. With no access to the gymnasium, sports courts, no sports events, tournaments, and competitions this year, athletes are struggling to face this new challenge. As per sports psychologists, this sudden change in the lifestyles resulted in a lot of stress disorders, depression, and anxiety among athletes.
Professional athletes who used to devote their maximum time of the day in training and practice sessions struggled hard to figure out how to spend their time during the lockdown. Many esteemed athletes and sportsperson admitted that it was very difficult and challenging for them to cope up with the lockdown phase. There was a lot of stress, anxiety concerning their future.
But it is important to understand and accept the truth that Coronavirus can inflict anyone including an active person or an athlete, hence safety holds the topmost position. Cancellation of tournaments and travel restrictions may make you feel anxious but instead of suppressing them, it is better to either share it with someone you trust and love. Also, maintaining a personal diary is a great way to vent out all the feelings and calm yourself.
Physical distancing does not mean isolating yourself. It is important to stay connected with your friends and family members. The social media platform is an excellent approach to engage yourself, stay motivated, connect with your fans, teammates, coaches, educate people, spread awareness, and prevent rumours. Many athletes are also organising online training sessions and contests to continue their training regimes from home and to train others as well.
There is another side of social media platforms as well. You may also find a lot of negativity in media posts and news channels which can subdue your morale and optimism. Therefore, self-discipline is very important and there is no need to binge-watch such posts and believe every statement displayed.
Endurance athletes like marathon runners and triathletes are required to maintain their aerobic capacity and train hard to achieve the desired levels. It can not be denied that achieving such goals are difficult via home training but a regular workout schedule at home is necessary. This is because exercise helps a lot in suppressing the cortisol levels, it leads to the release of certain hormones like endorphins which makes us feel happy and minimizes the likeliness of developing depression, stress, and anxiety.
It is important to take care of your nutritional needs. A healthy well-balanced diet is imperative not only pre- and during competitions but all the time. Imbalance in nutrients might lead to muscle loss and certain micronutrient deficiencies which can further cause physical and mental stress. Researches have shown that a lack of certain vitamins and minerals like folate, vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, zinc, and selenium can affect the production of certain neurotransmitters, hormones, and brain cells. Eventually, it might further aggravate the stress and reduce physical strength. Therefore, maintain an adequate intake of protein and other nutrients like vitamin B complex, omega 3 fats, and vitamin D which relieves stress, anxiety and boosts cognitive health.
Athletes should maintain a schedule and routine. Maintain regular sleep, exercise and meal timings. Perform your exercises in your sportswear rather than the casual ones. A disciplined schedule keeps our mental state positive and focussed. It is good to plan your training activities. If there is a provision for outdoor activity in a lawn or backyard, then one can easily design both home and outdoor activities to improve and challenge body in different ways. Athletes can also enjoy their extra free time by engaging in any hobby or online sessions and training to stay mentally and physically fit.
To conclude, athletes are in a habit of accepting and overcoming challenges. Therefore, they should also accept the current situation as a challenge that they need to overcome. There are certain circumstances which are beyond our control so it is better to mend those situations in our favour which are under our control so that they don’t affect our physical and mental health.
(Author is Founder, Steadfast Nutrition)