Conditioning: how it can affect athletes

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Photo Credit: photo via Twitter with permission Mr. DonDiego

Weight training is just one part of conditioning in the off season. Having a spotter is essential when lifting or swatting a lot of weight.

By: Dylan DaCunha, Reporter

Being an athlete requires an undoubted ability on the field, but what is done off the field is equally as important. Conditioning, and taking care of your body, are some of the biggest contributing factors to an athletes’ success and should be taken seriously. 

Why conditioning is important

Conditioning and working out, both during and after a sports season, can sound daunting to athletes. However, it plays an integral part in keeping them healthy and preventing injuries. An efficient conditioning program works to strengthen muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It can also increase flexibility. The risk of getting injured is lower when working out with proper form. Ideally, conditioning should be a year-round commitment. This helps to build a high level of fitness in athletes, which can translate to higher success when performing. 

Performing a routine is Colonia High School’s competition cheer team. Doing stunts like that requires much athletic ability, so it’s important to stay in shape. (Photo Credit: Photo via @coloniahscheer on Instagram)

Kara Mitch, a competitive varsity cheerleader for Colonia High School, often experiences stress on muscles and soreness from her sport. To combat this, she does in fact condition both during and after her cheer season. She believes it to help boost her endurance on the mat. Overall though, she encourages other athletes to condition because it can “make playing a sport easier as time goes on.” 

How to properly condition

Conditioning isn’t just limited to working out and increasing strength, speed, and agility. It includes taking care of your body in ways that go beyond athletic measure. This is to prevent soreness which can affect an athlete mid-game and even worse injuries including tears or strains. Mikayla Reimer, a varsity pitcher for McNair Academic High School in Jersey City, says her arm can get considerably sore after pitching or throwing too much. Before and after games, she makes sure to stretch properly and uses IcyHot or peppermint oil to lessen pain. Mitch recommends applying IcyHot as well to sore areas, and taking Epsom salt baths to loosen muscles. Reimer added that she also workouts before and during her season, but is a huge believer in caring for her arm. 

Using ice can also be an effective way to combat soreness. Ice is beneficial because it reduces inflammation in muscles and swelling, according to the University of Rochester Medical Health Center. Ice slows down blood flow, which relieves the pain that someone may be feeling. An alternative method of relieving muscle tension and pain is cupping therapy, which uses cups on the skin to create suction. Many athletes, all the way from high schoolers to Olympians, use this form of therapy to treat and prevent injuries. 

There are various ways to condition before a sports season arrives and during it. It’s important for athletes to find a program that’s going to help them be the best they can both on and off the field.

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