Succeeding in exercise is more than just performing well. It is also about how well you prepare for your sport or activity.
Keep your body hydrated.
One of the key components to preparing for your sport is proper hydration. If you want to prevent dehydration from exercise, it’s best to constantly be replenishing yourself throughout the day. Particularly, ensure you drink water for at least two to three hours before you exercise. This allows the water to circulate and your body to function properly.
If you are exercising for long periods of time, especially in strenuous conditions, you will need to ensure you aren’t losing too many fluids. Often, you lose a lot of electrolytes when you exercise, so it’s best to replenish them by drinking sports drinks or coconut water alongside your water. Common symptoms of electrolyte imbalance include cramping, mental confusion, dizziness, or an irregular heartbeat.
Nourish your body with smart food choices.
While sugar creates a spike in energy, it’s best to reduce its consumption when exercising to maintain a consistent performance.
It’s best to eat a light, nourishing snack about 30-90 minutes before you exercise. Healthy eating focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts.
Fruits and vegetables are simple carbohydrates that provide immediate energy that doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels as processed sugar does.
Whole grains, such as pasta, bread, or oats, are complex carbohydrates that maintain a longer, more controlled release of energy.
Nuts and peanut butter provide a good source of protein which helps those who are trying to build muscle mass.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy snack before you exercise, pair our no-bake energy bites with your favourite fruit!
After you exercise, eating protein such as lean meat, nuts, or eggs will help your body repair any damage and build muscle mass in recovery. Adding carbs to that will provide your body with enough energy to properly digest your protein source and begin the necessary repairs to your body.
A great post-exercise meal would be chicken, broccoli, and sweet potato or brown rice. This is an easy-to-make and easily-digested meal after working out. Be sure to add spices and herbs to your liking, but be cautious of pre-made seasoning mixes or sauces, as those often contain a lot of excess salt and sugar.
Get warmed up with some light movement.
Much like how the orchestra tunes before playing the symphony, your body needs to be warmed up in preparation for your sport. Allow yourself at least ten minutes of warm-up before serious exercise. This helps to prevent injuries caused by cold muscles, and it will improve your sports performance.
If you are going for a jog, do a few minutes of gentle then brisk walking first. If you want to do some swimming sprints, start with a few leisurely laps around the pool. This allows your body to safely move through the expected range of motions and gets the blood circulating.
It also helps to physically warm your body up before exercising. Wear warm clothes and drink water that is at least lukewarm to help raise your body temperature and prevent exercise injuries.
Do an appropriate stretching warm-up.
Did you know that there is a right and a wrong way to stretch before exercise? Traditional static stretching, where you hold still in a pose for several seconds causes your muscles to lengthen and relax. While this is great for injury recovery and a cool-down routine, it can inhibit sports performance. You need your muscles to be coiled and ready to spring for exercise, especially high-intensity sports like basketball or running.
Instead, focus on doing a combination of short stretching holds to activate your muscles and dynamic stretching to help your body flow through its complete range of motion exercises. WeStretch offers dedicated sport-specific warm-up routines to get your body moving effectively. A proper stretching technique will improve your physical performance and strength, as well as help you mentally prepare for your sport to perform your best.
Take your sports preparation to the next level by mentally training.
If you start planning your grocery list while you’re working out at the gym, you are not giving your exercise your full focus. This lack of attention can lead to decreased performance or even an increased risk of injury if you’re not careful. Allow each exercise you do to be a mindful movement, where you are conscious of every action you are doing.
Take your mental preparation for your sport to the next level by looking into sports psychology.
Determine what your short- and long-term goals are for your sport. Figure out what steps you need to take to accomplish these goals and take action to put those steps in motion. Visualize yourself succeeding repeatably until it becomes reality.
By planting these positive images of success in your mind, achieving your goals will become significantly easier to accomplish.
Regardless of what activity you are doing, taking the time to properly prepare for your sport will ensure that you have the best experience possible.
Download WeStretch today as your first step to being successful in your chosen activity.
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This article is not intended to act as or replace medical advice. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner if you have any concerns.
Written by Kayla Willsey