In sports, being even just a fraction of a second slower than your opponent can make all the difference between lifting a trophy as champion or heading back to the showers.
So what is the best way to achieve your goals? Here are 4 tips to improve your sports performance and be the athlete you aspire to be.
1. Eating and Drinking Right
When planning meals, try to avoid simple carbs and sugars like baked goods, many cereals and fruit juices from concentrate. Instead aim for more complex carbs such as fresh (not canned) fruits and vegetables and whole-grains such as quinoa. These complex carbohydrates break down more slowly, supplying your body with a more steady supply of energy, keeping you full longer.
You should also make sure to have plenty of protein-rich foods in your diet, such as fish, meat and eggs. They support muscle growth and help your muscles recover more quickly after workouts.
When choosing what to drink, water is always the best option. It lacks the added sugars of sodas and juices, wards off dehydration, supports muscle growth and helps prevent muscle tears and cramps during workouts.
To maintain optimal hydration throughout the day, women should aim to drink approximately 2.7 liters of water each day, and men should aim for approximately 3.7 liters.
2. Change Up Your Workouts
Doing the same thing day in and day out for your workout has a number of disadvantages.
First of all, it can get boring. If workouts become monotonous, it’s much more difficult to stay motivated day after day.
Maintaining the exact same workout routine every day can also reduce the effectiveness of those workouts.
Every day or two, you should change the muscle groups you’re targeting and the type of exercise you’re doing. Set up a workout schedule for yourself that emphasizes cardio on some days and strength training on others. Concentrate on your arms one day, your legs the next day and your core another day.
Changing up your workout routine can make it easier to overcome mental blocks around working out, and make those workouts more effective overall.
3. Don’t Neglect Recovery Time After Exercise
Many people don’t realize that recovery time between workouts is just as important as the workouts themselves. Every time you work out, your muscles experience stress and tiny micro-tears. This is why your muscles feel sore and tender after a good workout.
Resting time between workouts allows the muscles to heal thicker and stronger than before. If you ignore muscle soreness and exercise despite the pain, you run a very serious risk of long-term injury that can prevent you from participating in sports for a long time.
Resting after workouts also allows your muscles to recharge their glycogen stores, which are used up during your workout. Glycogen is essentially your muscles’ energy source, so resting between workouts will ensure that your muscles have the energy to work.
Consider skipping your workout every few days to give your body time to rest and recover from the rigors of your exercise routine.
4. Sports Vision Training
Being prepared for sports means more than lifting weights and going for a run. If your eyes have trouble following a moving ball or you react too slowly to a play, your big moment may pass you by.
Sports vision training is a scientifically proven vision therapy regimen that uses in-office and at-home eye exercises to strengthen the connection between the eyes and the brain. These exercises have been shown to improve an athlete’s performance and reaction time.
During a sports vision exam your eye doctor will evaluate your overall vision profile. This includes checking for refractive errors that may affect your ability to clearly see objects close up or far away, and visual skill deficiencies that may make it hard to track objects as they move, or to gauge distances.
Once your eye doctor has evaluated your vision and visual skills, they can construct a customized sports vision therapy regimen that addresses your specific needs, including an emphasis on the particular visual skills required for success in your sport.
To learn more about how sports vision training can boost the visual skills you need to exceed in sports, book an appointment with Vision Source Specialists today!
Our practice serves patients from Rapid City, Philip, Spearfish, and Gillette, South Dakota and surrounding communities.
Q: What vision skills does sports vision therapy help improve?
- A: Strong visual skills are an essential part of success in just about any sport you play. Some important visual skills that sports vision training helps you improve include:
- - Depth Perception – the ability to efficiently and accurately tell how far something is from you, and how fast it’s moving.
- - Focusing – the ability to quickly and efficiently focus from one object to another.
- - Eye Tracking – the ability to move your eyes in a continuous, smooth motion to keep moving objects in sight.
- - Reaction Time – Quickly and accurately registering the presence and movement of an object, and translating that into appropriate action.
- - Contrast Sensitivity – the ability to see an object and distinguish between it and the background.
- - Peripheral Awareness – the ability to register objects and their movement in your side vision.
- - Eye-Hand or Eye-Body Coordination – the ability to coordinate eye and body movements with visual information acquired by the eyes and sent to the brain.
Q: Is sports vision therapy effective for high school and college athletes?
- A: Absolutely! Sports vision therapy is recommended for both professional and amateur athletes, at any age and skill level. Deficiencies in visual skills can cause high school and college athletes to get frustrated and abandon the sport they love. Sports vision therapy is an excellent way to clear the visual obstacles that may be preventing their success, paving the way to greater enjoyment of the game and greater success.