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Athletes and Self Care

athlete self careSelf care is an essential component to survival as an athlete. Some athletes take self care very seriously while others do not prioritize it enough. Athletes should actively self care to counteract the physical and emotional stress they fall under. They can do this by caring for their bodies and caring for their mental faculties.

The physical stress that athletes go through is obvious on some level to everyone. Athlete’s bodies are the instruments of their professions and they are heavily taxed by doing their jobs. Athletes face the possibilities of injuries and physical exhaustion daily and must counteract its effects by reversing the damage done to their bodies. Some methods an athlete may have of undoing physical stress are gentle yoga, physical therapy, hot tubs, whirlpools and massages.

Counteracting the emotional stress of being an athlete looks very different from counteracting the physical stress. Many people do not realize that athletes go through as much psychologically as they do physically. The pressure that falls on athletes to be the best, outperform the competition and set new records can be overwhelming. No two people heal from emotional stress in the same way, and every athelete must learn how to unburden themselves so that they can remain healthy and happy. Some ideas to help athletes unwind are taking up an enjoyable, relaxing hobby, developing and leaning into supportive relationships, receiving counseling, practicing meditation and being in touch with one’s spirituality.

Being a professional athlete is not easy by any measure. The high profile, high expectation career of a professional athlete can physically and mentally strain athletes to the point of breaking. Finding different forms of therapeutic release is essential to their well being. No matter how busy or active an athlete is, they should always prioritize personal self care and have a plan in place for how to maintain their self care when they are training or traveling. Their lives and careers will be healthier and smoother because of it.

When Athletes Sustain Injuries

athlete injurySustaining an injury as an athlete is a very serious matter that can have a tremendous negative impact on both life and career. Every athlete knows that a serious injury can mean the end of life as they know it – knowledge that would be too heavy for most people to bare, but knowledge that is part and parcel to an athlete. When an athlete is injured, there journey may go one of three ways.

Sometimes when a sports injury occurs, the medical professionals on the scene and those who care for the individual in the days that follow the injury may know immediately what the forecast for the individual’s athletic life will be from then on. This is typically not in the athlete’s favor because it is often a negative prognosis. If a medical professional can tell immediately what the future looks like for an athlete after having examined their injury, it likely means the end of the athlete’s career.

Typically what happens when an athlete is injured is they enter treatment and physical rehabilitation to determine over time whether or not the athlete can re-enter their sport competitively. It is usually impossible to tell how well the injury will heal until the individual makes efforts to heal over the course of several weeks or months. These efforts may include stretching, exercises, medications and endurance tests.

After treatment and rehabilitation begin, the long road to recovery will ultimately determine how an athlete can engage in their sport. It could be that their injury did not end their career, but it did shorten it. Many athletes return to their sport after an injury to find that they are still competitive but cannot perform at quite the same level that they used to. Their injury slowed them down but did not stop them. There are a few lucky athletes who make a full recovery from their injury and return to their sport on top of their game. Sadly, this is more the exception than the rule.

Health Concerns Among Tennis Players

tennis player health concernsPlaying tennis will typically improve a person’s physical condition considerably. Tennis players are models of strength, agility and fitness. However, while it is largely beneficial to your health to take up a sport like tennis, it is not all good news on the health front for tennis players. Tennis is also a sport known for its overuse injuries and fatigue conditions. The most common health concerns among tennis players are ankle, knee and wrist injuries, chronic back pain and heat stroke. These are all things that can be avoided by a person who practices safety in their tennis playing and is intuitive with their body. However, at least one of these injuries strike nearly half of all tennis players.

Ankle, knee and wrist injuries are common in tennis because it is a high impact sport on these particular joints. Tennis requires very rapid movement around a court which means that the legs are always engaged in a high speed dance. The direction a person moves depends on their opponent’s move, which means a tennis player is constantly making a series of sudden, rapid movements around a court. This puts a strain on the ankle, knee and wrist joints over time, and it increases the likelihood of a stress injury because of how sudden and jerky the movements can be. The wrist absorbs most of the impact of the tennis racket making contact with the ball, so overuse and fracture injuries are not uncommon.

Chronic back pain is another typical discomfort among tennis players. The back is heavily engaged in tennis as all the strength behind a player’s swing originates in their back and arm muscles. The back is easily strained and is a part of the body that requires a great deal of physical care. When it sustains injury, it takes considerably longer to heal than other parts of the body. Back injury can also be permanent and become something that a person has to manage for life. It is critical for tennis players to properly care for their backs while engaging in their sport.

Lastly, heat stroke affects numerous tennis players because of the high level of activity they engage in during a game. Tennis heats a person’s inner core tremendously because of how much it charges the cardiovascular system. Tennis players need to monitor their core temperatures as they play and constantly consume liquids to ensure they do not suffer heat stroke.

Health Benefits of Playing Tennis

tennis player health benefitsPlaying tennis is a favorite pass-time of many Americans, Europeans and a number of other regions. Tennis is a highly respected Olympic sport that athletes spend their lives perfecting the art of. Tennis players such as Roger Federer, Raphael Nadal, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are widely considered sports celebrities for their achievement in tennis. One does not need to be a famous tennis player to benefit from the sport of tennis, however. There are many known health benefits to playing tennis even if you are only playing sporadically. These benefits include improved bone and heart health, increased flexibility and balance, and weight loss. Tennis can be taken up for enjoyment or as a health plan because the number of ways it contributes to a clean bill of health.

Exercise is essential to healthy bones. Not only does exercise strengthen bones by working them and training them to take impacts, but it metabolizes the nutrients that bones need to stay strong by nourishing the bone marrow and bone material. Tennis is a form of exercise that virtually works all the major bones in the body. Legs, arms, back and neck are all actively engaged in tennis playing.

Tennis is also excellent for a person’s heart health. Cardiovascular exercise, the kind that gets the heart pumping blood faster, is the kind that strengthens and oxygenates the heart. Tennis is an idea cardiovascular workout because the entire body is constantly engaged and moving quickly.

Flexibility and balance are also increased by playing tennis. Tennis is a sport that requires incredible agility and coordination. The precision of the movements that are made at the rapid pace the game moves at create an athlete that is flexible and fluid in their movements, as well as possessing strong balance and kinesthetic awareness.

And lastly, weight loss is an obvious health benefit of playing tennis. One has never seen an overweight professional tennis player. It would be impossible to play tennis regularly and be overweight. Tennis is far too high impact and intensely aerobic to allow for overweight athletes. Anyone who wants to lose weight could consider tennis a viable weight loss plan.

Common Health Concerns Among All Athletes

tennis player healthBeing an athlete is a goal that many aspire to. Up and coming athletes train their whole lives to achieve Olympic and professional sports glory, and it serves to give them athletic and physical prowess that few people achieve. However, this glory comes with a number of costs as well. Athletes experience a number of physical health problems that a high impact profession creates. Professional sports is one of the most physically dangerous and grueling professions a person can hold.

Firstly, the potential for physical injury in professional sports is much higher than in almost all other professions. An athlete’s body is their livelihood and their instrument, and they put it through the ringer to achieve their professional goals. Athletes are prone to chronic physical pain in their backs, joints, necks and extremities due to overuse injury, and in the case of traumatic accidents, they may suffer permanent physical damage to their bodies. There is even a mortality rate in professional sports that exceeds almost all other professions.

Another major health concern to athletes is what aging does to them professionally. In other worldly professions, one can remain active well into their golden years, but professional athletes peak in their thirties and have to start thinking about retirement shortly after. Once a person ages into their forties, their body begins to decline and cannot perform physically like it used to. This creates very particular healthcare necessities for athletes.

In order to properly care for their bodies, athletes need to have access to the best in medical treatment. There will be unavoidable wear and tear as well as injury to an athlete’s body, and physical therapy, internal medicine and chiropractic services are a necessity. In Canada, the socialized medical system is one of the best in the world and provides Canadian athletes with proficient medical treatment. Whether its a physical therapist in Calgary, a chiropractor in Kelowna or a physician in Vancouver that is needed, provincial health insurance will see that it is provided.

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The Healthy Tennis Player

flexibility and balance increaseTennis can be a very rewarding hobby, even a career path to some. People discover tennis at various phases of life; some in their adolescence, some in their teen years, some when they are young adults and even mature adults who have never played tennis in their lives may be exposed to it for the first time. Tennis satisfies the edge for competitive sports that many people enjoy as a pass-time, and it is an excellent way of staying fit and spry. There are health factors to be aware of for those who want to be avid tennis players, however, as there are certain health measures that need to be managed properly.

Those who play tennis regularly can expect to enjoy certain health benefits that are particular to the sport, so long as good safety is practiced when playing. Tennis players are known to have particularly good bone and heart health. Playing tennis is such a cardiovascular activity that the heart gets excellent circulation and keeps a person’s body fat low. Bones remain strong and agile from playing tennis because of how much strength the sport requires. Flexibility and balance are increased by playing tennis due to the amount of stretching and quick movements that are made in the game.

As beneficial as tennis can be, it is also very important to be a safe tennis player and be aware of the effect it is having on your body. Their are several common tennis injuries, most of which develop through repetitive motion, that you must be aware of in order to detect signs of injury early. Ankle, knee, elbow and wrist problems are very common in avid tennis players due to repetitive rotation, hard contact and snappy movements on these joints – something that is commonly referred to as Tennis Elbow. Taking glucosamine for joint health and working anti-inflammatories into your diet can be sufficient ways of controlling joint pain. Tennis is also hard on the back and can result in chronic back pain. Taking care to relax muscles through massage, yoga and hot tubs can ease these symptoms. Tennis players have also been known to suffer heat stroke, as tennis is a very involved sport that can make people forget about their physical state. Be careful to monitor your temperature and level of hydration in order to avoid heat stroke. And, as in all professional sports, addiction to performance enhancing drugs is more prevalent than many people realize, and requires substance abuse therapy in order to resolve.