It used to be that athletes would be only great until they hit about 30 but in recent years, some athletes are pushing closer to 40 and are still very active and playing their sports at the highest level possible. What changed? Did we as humans become better over the last fifty years that now athletes are able to last longer? Well, no, not really. It is just that the science around understanding the human body has changed to adapt to the new challenges and provide athletes with a better way of working out and recovering. Here is how sports science helps athletes stay strong and healthy.
Given that each sport is prone to a different set of injuries, sports science has adapted to study each sport independently to help athletes prevent future injuries, in general and for each specific athlete. Tennis players often get tennis elbow while boxers and other fighters might suffer from concussions. Helping already great athletes prevent future injuries keeps them at the professional level for a longer time, while also providing upcoming athletes with a better foundation to prevent any injuries, let alone previous ones.
Recovering from a hard workout is very difficult, as any athlete would know. You know how you go to a gym, as a beginner, work out and start feeling that pump, then overdo it a bit? You end up not being able to walk or turn around, all of your muscles sore and with limited mobility. Athletes can’t wait for their muscles to recover as amateurs can. Athletes rely on cryotherapy and other methods to quicken their recovery. Muscle soreness begone, says the ice.
While working out is only about 10 to 20% of your actual workout, nutrition and sleep is the other 80%, nutrition being a very large part of that 80%. Nutrition is important because your muscles and body will react to what you eat. You don’t lose weight by working out, but by being in a caloric deficit and eating better quality calories, chicken breasts as opposed to potato chips and fast food, for example. Even with simple nutrition changes, regular athletes can get more out of their physique while professionals can improve their performance and take it to the next level. Nutrition is almost everything when it comes to working out, so bear that in mind.
Better Monitoring and Planning
With new tools such as smart watches with heart-rate monitors and other sensory equipment, measuring an athlete’s performance can be done much more efficiently. What this means is that coaches and scientists can better study the performance and adjust even the smallest things to bring about positive change.
Sports science is amazing, making already good athletes even better. While regular athletes also benefit largely from sports science and its advancements in the past decades, professionals benefit a lot more from it. Science keeps us healthy, even at the highest levels of sports performance.