Importance of Sports Health

Health is a concern for everyone. Professional and non-professional athletes alike should all follow a few simple steps in order to make sure their bodies and minds are primed for athletic success. Here's a sampling of the rigors required by the pros to ensure they are physically ready to go before each season.

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Physical Tests to Undergo to Determine Fitness

When professional athletes start training they undergo a battery of medical tests. They include VO2 max testing (determines aerobic conditioning) stress tests, body fat tests and sport specific fitness evaluations. In football, these can consist of players being timed in the 40-yard dash and also seeing how many times they can bench press 225 pounds. The results of these tests are tabulated to provide insight into an athletes overall well being.

Medical Tests to Undergo to Determine Health

Many professional franchises bring in medical teams during training camps. These teams are made up of general doctors, orthopedic specialists, internists and heart specialists. Medical histories must be completed and immunizations up to date. All these checks and balances are in place to ensure the athlete is 100 percent healthy and fit to compete at a high level.

Nutrition and Hydration

Hydration and proper food intake are also vital for maximum performance. Nutritional supplements can be ingested but there's no substitute for healthy eating. Foods containing protein and carbohydrates can fuel you up. Others, loaded with sugar, can give you an instant high. The drop in blood sugar soon after is never worth the temporary surge.

Suitable Lifestyle Choices

A healthy lifestyle contributes to an athlete’s ability to perform all season long.

“Kids who have been playing half the games in junior now realize that in order to play three games in three nights, you better take care of yourself off the ice," advises Kevin Anderson, head athletic trainer with the Stockton Thunder of the East Coast Hockey League. "Proper eating, resting and training will help a guy get to the end of the season without tailing off." Avoiding the trials of away games are also a must. These include bad eating habits or skipping meals altogether. Staying up too late and taking part in the proverbial road game play in bars and nightclubs, away from the sporting arena, can also contribute to poor performance.

Importance of Mentoring Young Impressionable Athletes

Veterans are responsible for leading on and off the playing surface. Their choices can influence rookies for good or bad. Younger athletes often feel like all the bad stuff happens to other people; they go on acting like they are invincible.

The incentive for the serious ones is making it to the pros. They are mindful of screwing that up with their actions.

Applying Professional Tips to Your Sports Routine

While most people can't all afford the luxuries professional athletes can when it comes to seeking and maintaining fitness levels, little things can be done to keep you on top of your game too. For instance, much like the pros, individuals can schedule visits to the family doctor for annual medical and physical tests which are very similar if not exactly like what the pros do. Staying hydrated and choosing healthier foods can increase, cut down on injuries and maintain stamina.

Stick to Your Healthy Lifestyle Plan, at Home or Away

Obviously, ordinary folks aren't necessarily on the road as much as professional athletes, but unhealthy patterns of eating, drinking and sleeping on harmless endeavors like family vacations or work trips can still sneak in. Stick to exercise and eating plans even when away from home, remembering all the while that what and how much you eat, combined with how you choose to live your life is constantly being watched by the younger people in your household. Just like the "rooks" watch the "vets" and take their lead in pro sports, your influence extends to your children in a very similar way.

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