Anyone can improve their fitness and recreational sporting performance just by emulating elite athletes, but that doesn’t mean adopting their punishing training schedules or restrictive diets.
The thing that separates your from an elite athlete is the disciplined approach athletes have to training and recovery.
Regardless of whether you are a weekend cyclist, runner, golfer or lawn bowls player — or even if you’re just looking to keep up with the grandkids — it is possible to improve your physical capabilities and reduce your risk of injury by following some simple points.
1. Don’t try to ‘ride out’ an injury
Elite athletes are brilliant at listening to their bodies and seek an expert opinion quickly if they have an injury. While you might try to ‘ride out’ an injury, it will have poor results. You are more likely to put off getting an injury assessment, which unfortunately makes things worse.
2. Rehab exercises are also preventative
Athletes take rehabilitation seriously, but you might be inclined to stop your rehab exercises if you feel the pain has gone away. Elite athletes know that rehab exercises are preventative exercises, meaning that even though you might be feeling better by maintaining a rehab program your body will benefit long-term.
3. Recovery is essential
You might think about recovery as sitting down, but even the simplest of routines at the end of a workout can have significant benefits for your body. You probably don’t need the ice baths that elite athletes use, but appropriately cooling down after training or playing will reduce the aches and pains you might suffer if you avoided it all together.
4. Change treatment if it isn’t working
Too many people stick with the same physiotherapist for treatment, even though there is no improvement in their condition. You might be one of these people. Elite athletes need to see results quickly, and so should you. If you don’t notice a change within three sessions, you might consider seeking a second opinion.
Elite athletes are serious about their sleep habits as they use if to recover both mentally and physically. Improved sleep can have a tangible benefit in your performance, but the other reason getting the right kind of sleep is important is because it makes you more aware of your body and how it is performing.