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Posted on 06-10-2015

 “Sports Performance” has become a buzzword in our culture over the past decade or so. Why do you think we hear so much about it lately?

The main reason is because the stakes have gotten so much higher! Professional sports and high-level collegiate athletics have become BIG businesses. These coaches and administrators know that anything they can do to improve the performance of their athletes is going to give them a competitive advantage and help to protect and maximize these investments. This trickles down to the amateur or recreational athlete and even in children’s sports because we want to do what the pros are doing.

But “sports performance” is actually a larger umbrella that encompasses a lot of other things, some tangible and some intangible. The tangible things we can control are our training methods and our skill levels. There are other intangibles we can’t control (Example: No matter how hard I train or practice at basketball, I will never be 6’7”).

 But what are some lesser-known ways people can improve their performance or get more out of their exercise?

Beyond the obvious (eating a healthy diet that supports your performance goals and drinking the right amount of water, implementing training methods specific to your sport), there are some other good tips many people don’t always consider that can benefit any athlete of any skill level…

  1. Sleep – This is THE biggest area where even elite athletes can fall short. I recommend following the 4-3-2-1 Rule for getting better sleep. It’s important to keep a good sleep schedule during regular training (7-8 hours/night), but it’s especially important for the TWO nights before an event (yes, TWO nights before… not just the night before)
  2. Moving during the day –even an hour of exercise a day is not enough to overcome the damage we do from sitting for 8-9 hours a day… we need to get up and move or stretch every 30 minutes. Set a timer or an alarm on your phone if you have to.
  3. Breathing – just because you’re breathing enough to stay alive doesn’t mean you’re doing it the way you’re supposed to! Proper breathing is critical to athletic performance. You have to engage your diaphragm, especially during the day when so many of us tend to breathe with our shoulders. Also, with all this talk of strengthening your “Core” to improve stability, a properly-functioning diaphragm is the best spinal stabilizer there is!
  4. Mobility – mobility and flexibility are not the same thing. There are doctors, therapists trainers in our city who have been trained to see exactly where your body breaks down during specific movements and that allows us to prescribe specific exercises and chiropractic adjustments to get you moving at your best and keep you there.
  5. Recovery. – Recovery affects sports performance more than anything else. Exercise and training cause a lot of physiological stress and can break down our body. It’s something we have to recover from.

Athletes look for any advantage to recover faster. Sometimes they even resort to illegal ways (PEDs). But did you know there are natural , harmless, perfectly-legal ways to help your body recover faster and ultimately improve sports performance?

One of those is Chiropractic!

Chiropractic isn’t just about neck or back pain like you’ve been taught. The fact is that chiropractic – when applied correctly – can improve the function of the entire body. This happens because chiropractic adjustments stimulate optimum function of your nervous system, which controls every other system in your body (muscles, respiration, digestion, etc.) Decreased performance can almost always be traced back to inefficient nervous system control.

I’ll leave you with one bonus suggestion for improving your sports performance…

  1. Seek professional help. – Don’t try to do it all on your own. You need an advocate who knows how to evaluate how your body performs and can offer solutions.

Every NFL, NBA and MLB team has a chiropractor on staff. There have been multiple chiropractors on staff at every Olympics since 1980. As do most major universities. I’ve been working as the team chiropractor for UAB Athletics since 2010.

But professional help is not just for professional athletes! If it gives you joy, wouldn’t you want to get the most from it? Put some of these suggestions into practice today. I’d love to hear which ones helped you the most.

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