Sitting is worse for athletes

What does performance recovery mean?

Performance recovery (or athlete/sport recovery) is getting more scientific and detailed encompassing way more than just rest in between workouts. In the simplest of terms, training is where you wear + tear your body/muscles and recovery is where you repair/rebuild/restore your body/muscles. Yet, there’s a million ways in which to recover. A lot of times people (coaches and athletes) aren’t aware of certain recovery practices and what that entails.

One of the huge no-no’s as an athlete is to sit in a chair too long (or car, or bus or train). Let’s say throughout the day no more that 2-3 hours (yes, that includes meals, driving, meetings, classes/school/work, watching TV, etc).

Yup, you already know that sitting kills (i.e. sitting is the new smoking) in the kazillion articles written on sitting. But but but but… Sitting is horrific in athletes that are training hard in their sports because it predisposes the athlete to increased risk of injury. Yes!!! If the athlete already has issues/nigglies/pain/injury sitting will ADD to it! When you passively load muscles or position muscles to a shortened and weakened state (i.e. calves, hamstrings, psoas while sitting) it will have serious consequences to your recovery; hence, to your performance. Once again, you are creating further tension/increased adhesions/decreased circulation and electric flow in those areas. It’s all about groceries IN and garbage OUT when dealing with recovery. Please don’t make matters worse and sit too long!

WHAT do athletes do in between practices? Let’s go with the student-athletes. Hhhmmm let’s see.

1. Sitting in chairs at desks in classes all day

2. Sitting in chairs at meetings (strategy sessions) hours on end

3. Sitting on sofas to watch plays/tactics/strategies/etc everyday

4. Driving to and from practice

5. Sitting on sofas relaxing before and after practice for no other reason that to relax (even though it is doing more harm than good).

Yes, I understand that sitting is required in certain circumstances; although, may I suggest a slight alternative?

i. When sitting always sit on your ischial tuberosities (your sit-bones). This will help your spine, pelvic floor, organs and hamstrings.

ii. When sitting have your legs straight out so there is NO knee flexion. This makes a huge difference in the leg circulation.

iii. Have standing meetings. I know it will be hard coaches because you will actually have to stand as well! Get off your asses and stand for a meeting.

iv. Sitting meetings? Get them to sit on a block just above the floor and have them stretch out their legs. Once again, this does wonders for circulation and it helps stretch the athletes out. Many, many, many, many football players have tight hamstrings. Just by stretching out of the legs, within a matter of a couple of weeks, players can notice a huge difference in mobility. Why not try it! Especially if you want the winning advantage.

If you still don’t understand why sitting impedes recovery; then do an experiment! Have 1/2 the team do as little sitting as possible for 2-3 weeks weeks and the other 1/2 sitting (or status quo). I understand, this can be hard because you won’t see them all day everyday. Who knows what they do at home… on the sofa… watching TV… eating honey nut cheerios. I don’t know… just sit less please :)

Feet first for success

The highest percentage of injuries (aside from direct hits) come from the feet up, yet football players (and their coaches) pay little attention to a structure that holds 25% of the muscles and bones in the body [your feet!]. That is stagering! From the football cleats they wear, to the exercises and drills they do not do, to the amount of sitting during meetings or strategy sessions kills their foundation. A foundation that can make or break a career and a Title!!!!

Check out these football feet. They are not as bad as others I have seen but they are underperforming feet and I will tell you why! Toes are squished together, halux valgus forming (bunion), toenail fungus, toe gripping and collapsed arch. All of these characteristics wreck havoc in a player. Throughout his career~ foot, ankle, knee, hip, back issues can account for his injuries just from what I am seeing in his feet!

football feet

Are you a football player? Try this! Interlace your fingers between your toes.

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Can you actually do this? This is a tell-tale sign of your foot health. You can’t perform your best with weak feet. Remember: a tight muscle is a weak muscle!

Why are your feet so tight? Because of shoes!!! (that includes the freakin’ flip flops you wear everyday messing up your toes!) Check out your cleats! So many performance shoes are not big enough in the toe box. A LOT of football players would not fit in these cleats shown below. Look at that toe box!

football cleats

Your TOES are the widest part of your feet. They need room to perform!!!! If you are on a professional team or a college team that has money= get the “right” cleats for your feet. It will make all the difference.

It’s simple. Take a paper and pen, trace your foot, cut it out. If your paper does not fit in the shoe (all must be on the bottom~ so NOT touching any of the sides) the shoe is too *@#%! small. And this does not even include the width of the heel, the upper, or the lacing. If you train X hours a day, and especially at training camps where they train ALLLLL day, make sure you have the appropriate shoe for goodness sakes!

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Breaking bad habits?

Are you constantly being told to do this and do that to improve your health? Change this=> you will get better!? Stop doing this and all will be good?! Well, as we all know it’s easier said than done. One thing is for sure: breaking an old (potentially life long) bad habit is ridiculously hard. So? What do we do? How are we suppose to fix ourselves?!

Why even try to break your bad habit in the first place! Seriously! Focusing on that habit and the “bad” of that habit is just zoning in on THAT habit! Of c.o.u.r.s.e you’re not going to get what you want out of the process with your 100% concentration on that “bad” behaviour. If I told you “Don’t think about an elephant” “Don’t think about an elephant” “Don’t think about an elephant” “Come ON, just DON’T think about an elephant!” “How HARD can it be? Stop thinking about that elephant!” “Why are you still thinking about that elephant?” “You have serious problems if you can’t stop thinking about that elephant? You need some help!”

Did any of that resonate with you? For me personally, I love kicking myself when I’m down {I am hard on myself}. We all have habits that we would like to break; yet, the way in which we ‘try’ to break them just re-inforces them in the first place! So…

What new habits do you want to create in your life? Pick one! And slowly incorporate that into your day. If you sit too much, perhaps you can stand or move an extra XYZ amount of time throughout the day instead of berating yourself on the act of sitting. Slowly, intentionally and lovingly creating those new habits will slowly change the other habits without beating yourself to a pulp (figuratively speaking!).

 

Take a chance on your health

Scenario: You need to train for your mental wellbeing. It just doesn’t feel right if you can’t. Intensity helps with your sanity. There’s nothing else that can compare.

I get it! I’ve been there and done that. And, you need to think long term. Long term for your body. How will it function 10 or 20 years down the road with what you are doing right now?

How about taking a chance on your health? Take those extra few minutes after a workout or cut your workout short to do those restorative exercises needed to reduce the turbulent flow that you caused while working out.

It’s you that makes the choice of recovery. It’s not a question of whether you have time or not for your body. It is 100% your choice.

So, go for it! Take a chance on your health.

You’re younger than you think!

Our bodies are incredible living organisms smile emoticon Believe it or not we are constantly renewing, regenerating, rebuilding, repairing, replacing our parts. Sure, there are a few areas in our body that stay the same, like the eyes and the brain; yet, so many other parts that are brand new regularly. How cool is that.

FuN fAcTs
Your body is constantly creating new cells at a rate of millions per second.
The intestines stick around only for a few days.
New taste buds come in ~biweekly.
Lungs are renewed every 2-3 weekly.
Your blood completely replaces itself every 4 to 6 weeks.
A liver is replaced by 5 months.
Bones are renewed every 7-10 years.
Heck, even our hearts are completely rebuilt within 20 years.

To say you are old, broken and can’t get out of “whatever it is you want to get out of” is not true. You can always change your body even if it is a small change. I’m not saying you can entirely reverse damage from the past; but, I am saying you can do a lot more than you think.

Love your body and enjoy your body!!!!