The holidays are here and everyone is excited for a break from their routines! It’s a time for family, friends and festivities, but for athletes its a great time to recharge, refuel, and repair, This doesn’t mean that athletes should put their feet up and hit the couch for the break, it means that athletes can and should spend some extra time focusing on the things that they need to do to be better prepared or get back to optimal health, both physically and mentally. The break can be a great time to take care and focus on the prevention and care strategy that the athlete sets out at the beginning of the year. Many times athletes use the excuse that they are busy and forget about all the little things they can and should be doing to stay healthy and prevent injury. The break can provide athletes with the time they need for this.
Each athletes individual needs will be different over the break. Something athletes might need a few days off completely to mentally repair and refocus, whereas some athletes might only need a day or two. Some athletes will need to spend time with some therapies and rehab to deal with sore spots or minor injuries. It is very important to address any sore spots and minor injuries! Massage, Chiropractic and Physiotherapies can be a useful tool at this time for many!
Athletes will want to keep a regular sleep schedule over the break and continue to get 10 hours of sleep every night as best as possible. Nutrition still should be monitored and regulated as always but it’s okay to enjoy life a little over the holidays!
Exercise and activity will be a must but will differ for all. Some athletes may choose to keep up with their regular training plans, while others can choose to address weaknesses or areas that lack attention. For some athletes mixing in cross training or different activities can be beneficial to challenge the body to work in different ways and it never hurts to develop athleticism. Everyone’s needs are different so there’s no one size fits all approach.
The holiday break is also a great time to review what’s been done, double check and address the goals that have been set, and to change or develop a plan moving forward. The time to reflect and think can be impactful as it can be easy to forget about the goals and plans we set early in a season. As much as it is a holiday everything an athlete does or doesn’t do can impact the goals they’ve set.
It’s up to each athlete to know what they need and to do what they need to do. Coaches or parents can suggest things, but it’s up to the athlete to do things! You know yourself best and you know what you’ll need, so take the ownership for your actions or lack of action.
Be sure to have some fun and laugh this holiday break and be ready for 2016!