Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.
Carrying excess weight can have a significant negative impact on the body’s hips, knees, and other joints. In fact, “every pound of excess weight exerts about 4 pounds of extra pressure on the knees,” reports the Arthritis Foundation. For athletes, especially, extra weight can inhibit overall athletic performance in both the short- and long-term.
An infographic from National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) helps athletes identify and recognize healthful methods for managing weight. Let’s take a closer look together at some of NATA’s warnings and recommendations…
Unsafe Weight Management Practices
Unsafe practices can compromise athletic performance and negatively affect health. Unsafe habits may include: not eating, binge eating, purging, limiting caloric intake and restricting fluids.
Why do athletes sometimes engage in unhealthy weight management practices? Athletes can feel pressured, says NATA, by parents, coaches, society and judging criteria, which can place them at risk of developing unrealistic weight goals and problematic weight-control behaviors.
Adverse effects of unhealthy weight management practices may include:
- Reductions in energy, aerobic performance, recall, visual understanding, reaction time and planning time.
Extremely low-caloric diets can negatively impact the cardiovascular system, immune system and endocrine system.
Healthy Weight Management Practices
Your primary care provider or sports medicine provider may be able to help you achieve your ideal body weight and body composition through healthy strategies. A proper, physician-supervised weight management plan should include diet and exercise; your plan should also be tailored to your specific needs. Virtually all weight management plans should focus on both diet and exercise.
Caloric intake should be based on lean body mass, desired body composition, goal weight and sports or activity requirements. A healthy meal plan should include essential energy-producing nutrients (protein, carbs and fats), as well as non-energy-producing nutrients (vitamins, minerals and water). A healthy diet should be maintained year-round.
Weight and body composition adjustments should ideally occur before competitive seasons. During competitive seasons, focus on performance, strength, power and training intensity. During off-season periods, focus on physical conditioning, developing lean body mass, aerobic capacity and muscular endurance.
Talk to your physician and view the infographic below to learn more.
Find a Sports Medicine Doctor Near You In Houston
To learn more, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. Call (713) 756-5546 or schedule your appointment online.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.