How to stay healthy during a sports tournament or season

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Three things can happen in every sports tournament or season – Your team may win, lose or draw. Whatever happens, these outcomes bring with them anxiety, excitement, headaches, or stress, all of which may negatively affect your health. Here are tips to make sure you stay healthy throughout a sports tournament or season.

Your current state

Problem: If you are faint-hearted or have hypertension (raised blood pressure) and heart diseases, it is advisable that you do not watch live matches involving teams you support. The anxiety is likely to raise your blood pressure and lead to serious implications.

Solution: a) Get busy and/or sleep during the match and get the scoreline of the match later or b) simply record and watch it later when you already know the scores.

Eating habits

Problem: Stress, anxiety, loss and or win may lead to an unhealthy increase or decrease in appetite for food. The increase in appetite can be for comfort foods, which are mostly high in sugar, fat and salt and/or eating more food than is needed. Whether it’s an unhealthy increase or decrease in appetite for food, they all carry risks to health.

Solutions: 

a) Do not stock your refrigerator or stores with foods high in sugar, fat and salt like fizzy drinks, sweets, crisps, etc rather with more fruits and vegetables. This will make you reach out for a fruit or vegetable instead of sweets, crisps, etc.

b) Eat before your team plays. This way, you will have a good appetite and be able to check the amount of food being consumed.

c) Get around and talk with family and friends but make sure they are optimists . This will help you to forget the pain from the loss of a match and not to seek comfort from foods.

d) Be conscious of the fact that eating habits might be affected by the tournament and hence will require an extra effort to eat healthily.

Physical activity levels

Problem: During a sports tournament or season, more (3 or more) matches can be played and telecasted each day, interspersed with match analysis making at least eight hours of non-stop sports. One is most likely to stay in the couch or bed or whatever it may be for close to eight hours. Sitting and/or lying down for extended periods pose risks to health.

Solution: Whether you will watch all the matches for the day or at least one a day, get up and get active (walk, dance (i.e., if your team is winning), skip, press up or whatever activity works for you) during the half-time breaks as well as the commercial breaks.

Alcohol consumption

ProblemAgain stress, anxiety, loss and or win may lead to a start of drinking alcohol and/or an unhealthy increase in alcohol consumption, which poses risks to health.

SolutionDo not stock your refrigerator or stores with alcoholic beverages. 

Sleeping habits

Problem: Sleeping habits are most likely going to be affected due the fact that a) matches may be played in timezone different from yours and/or b) the desire to enjoy every single match.

Solution: For an adult, between 6 – 8 hours of sleep is required so take a nap before the match or record and watch a repeat telecast. 

Smoking

Problem: Again, stress and anxiety may lead to picking up smoking habits. Also depending on the anti-smoking regulations in your country, you might risk coming into contact with tobacco smoke-filled environment.

Solution: a) The healthy lifestyle guideline for smoking is no smoking. If you do, seek professional help from a health centre. b) Avoid places, where smoking takes place as secondary smoking also poses risk

Things to remember

  1. Do not drink and drive or drive and drink or both.
  2. It takes 3 weeks to develop a habit (good or bad), a tournament or season can be more than 3 weeks long. Let it end with developing a good habit.
  3.  Your team has a health practitioner to make sure players are staying healthy. A reason to also stay healthy  
  4. Any time your team is playing, they are keeping active. Another reason to also keep active .

May the team that wants it most win the Competition or season!

About the author; Irene Danquah is a Registered Associate Nutritionist and Team Leader at Olime Health Ltd. Contact her on [email protected] 

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