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The Effects of Stress In Athletes (INFOGRAPHIC)

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

Stress is the body’s natural response to a fight-or-flight scenario. It’s one of the primary reasons why humankind has survived. Stress helps us do difficult things and and make advancements and achievements.

…and then it also can cause us to shut down, feel exhausted, lose our appetites, miss out on hours of sleep, and become irritable. We’re all familiar with the symptoms of stress: the racing heartbeat, the tension in the forehead…

So, where’s the middle ground? A new infographic from National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) takes a closer look at stress, its symptoms, and self-care techniques – particularly as they relate to student athletes.

“Student athletes report higher levels of negative emotional states than other adolescents,” reports NATA. Increased stress can have short- and long-term effects on physical and mental health. If you are a student athlete (or a parent of a student athlete), keep reading to find out how you can combat stress from athletic activities.

What Causes Stress In Student Athletes?

Major sources of stress include:

    • The pressure to win
    • Competition for athletic scholarships
    • Academic responsibilities
    • Overtraining
    • Lack of rest and recovery time

Stress can lead to burnout, which is just one reason why many healthcare providers and sports organizations recommend that young athletes play more than one sport and not specialize in a single sport at an early age.

What Are the Symptoms of Stress?

Stress can have negative effects physically, mentally and behaviorally. Sustained amounts of stress can cause long-term damage to one’s overall mental and physical health. Stress can contribute to physical ailments such as, but not limited to:

    • Headaches, fatigue, memory problems, difficulty sleeping, mental disorders
    • Acne and other skin problems
    • Rapid heartbeat, rise in blood pressure, heart attack
    • Muscle tension, backaches, reduced bone density
    • Nausea, stomach pain, heartburn, weight gain or loss
    • Increased risk of diabetes
    • Digestive problems
    • Irregular or painful periods

How Can I Reduce Stress Through Self-Care?

    • Get a proper amount of sleep nightly
    • Make a hydration schedule to avoid dehydration
    • Follow good nutrition recommendations
    • Form hobbies outside of sports

Schedule With a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor

For other Houston sports medicine needs, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.