As a high school girls basketball coach I know how hectic it can be for an athlete to add on practices and games 5 to 6 times a week. It becomes even more important to stay healthy & strong with good Nutrition and Health habits all Winter season long. Here are 6 Tips for you or your growing athlete to help through the change of season and winter sports grind!
- Increase Your Intake of Fruits & Vegetables– Fruits and Vegetables are an important source vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which plays a key role in reducing free radicals created during exercise and supporting immune health! Increasing your immunity with fruits and vegetables during the winter especially around a lot of team mates is a great way to play defense against getting sick. Also, intense training is hard on the body and, choosing quality fuel on a daily basis by including colorful produce in your diet is essential to keep your body functioning at its best!
- Eat Breakfast Everyday– Start the day off right by fueling with a nutrient balanced breakfast. Aim for all 3 macronutrients- protein, carbohydrate and a healthy fat. Getting enough calories in the day is important for all athletes, starting with breakfast can help to achieve this goal and optimal performance. Figure out what works for you, a smoothie, eggs & toast, yogurt with granola & fruit, overnight oats or oatmeal with nuts & fruit.
- Get the Right Amount of Sleep Every Night– Inadequate sleep can lead to reduced performance to include, slower sprint time, reduced endurance, increased hearth rate and changes in mood. Going to sleep before 11 PM is important especially to get into a nice deep sleep to repair muscles. Females and Males 8-16 years old need 9-10 hours and over 16 years old 8-10 hours a night. Some tips for a quality night’s rest include, getting on a sleep schedule and sticking to it, avoid stimulating activities and electronics before bed (aka don’t snapchat or Instagram late at night!), keep your bedroom cool, reduce light, use white noise if you need to drown out sudden noises and use bright light during the day and in the morning to help manage your circadian rhythms.
- Watch Sugar Intake-Watch the amount of sugar you take in during the day from processed foods. Look at the ingredients on food and beverage packages for sugar or sugar substitutes like evaporated cane juice & corn syrup. Our national average for sugar intake is sky high. We need to watch our daily intakes for sweets, vending machine treats, sodas, energy drinks & flavorings to see what we can cut and reach for more natural sugars like fruits.
- Hydrate!!– For general health it is important to drink water to avoid dehydration. Dehydration comes with its consequences to include, fatigue, confusion, headaches, nausea and decreased performance. A few great goals for proper hydration are to drink a glass of water in the morning before heading out the door, drink half your body weight in ounces a day, drink throughout the day and always carry a water bottle. Drinking more water will help you feel healthier, more alert and ready for practice or the game!
- Stay Positive- It can be a long season and we need to make sure we look out for ourselves and our team mates. Take time for yourself and remember to smile! 🙂 You are doing great things everyday by waking up, going to school and playing hard. Remember you are a valuable part of the team and enjoy the season!
Thank You & Good Luck this Season!