Children's Hospital Colorado: Gearing Up for the Summer!
It’s time to gear up for summer. With upcoming training, practices, traveling, and tournaments, you need to be prepared. Keeping a routine and consistent schedule, preventing injuries, and focusing on nutrition and hydration will help you with a smooth transition from school to summer activities.
School is out for summer, but you still need a consistent schedule
You are out of school, but it is still important to keep a normal routine. Try to wake up at the same time and be active throughout the day to keep your mind and body ready for practices and games. Keeping a calendar of practices and tournaments (home and away), along with family vacations and other activities, will help you focus and not become overwhelmed. Don’t burnout from only doing lacrosse, make time for other activities or try something new!
Don’t hurt yourself!
Work back up to being in shape before going 100%. Focus on conditioning (running, biking, swimming, etc.), dynamic stretching, and strengthening. This will help prevent injuries if you are not used to playing lacrosse for multiple hours at a time or multiple games in one day.
Common overuse injuries that can occur include:
- Shin splints- easily managed with no time out, but could lead to more severe injuries if not treated
- Stress fractures- require 6-8 weeks minimum for recovery
- Muscle strains- depending on the severity, require 3 weeks to several months for recovery, especially if surgery is needed
The sun is out
Avoid exercising outside from 11am- 3pm when the sun’s UV rays are most damaging. Make sure to always wear sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy.
Apply waterproof or sport-formulated sunscreen before going outside. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, or every hour if you’re heavily sweating
Try eating nutritious meals as part of your pre-game ritual. Healthy pre-game meals are key to providing optimal energy, preventing fatigue, maintaining athletic performance, and preventing hunger and discomfort before and during games. The timing and amount of food is based on personal preference, but the following are good guidelines:
- Eat 2-4 hours prior to game time. These meals should be high in carbohydrates, moderate in proteins, low in fat, and moderate in size.
- Whole grain carbs include100% whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, quinoa, bran cereals, and oatmeal
- Other good carbs include dairy products, potatoes, beans, and fruits
- Your meal should consist of familiar foods to avoid digestive distress
- Some athletes prefer a carbohydrate-rich snack 30-60 minutes before a warm-up. You may want to experiment with these snacks before practices.
- Examples include sports gels, gummies, rice cakes, pretzels, and bananas
- Avoid high-fat foods which can cause digestion problems.
- Examples include condiments, creamy sauces, cream cheese, and butter.
- If you must have dessert, try frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, cakes, or cookies.
If a mid-game snack is needed to refuel, a medium-sized orange has approximately 20 grams of good carbohydrates to boost your energy
Post-game recovery begins immediately after practice or a game and continues for 4-6 hours.
Even if you don’t feel hungry, the best way to start recovery is to eat as soon as possible. Meals high in carbohydrates with a small amount of protein (chicken, beef, yogurt, milk, egg, quinoa) are good for muscle recovery.
Fueling your body appropriately throughout the summer is key to playing your best and making it through all of your tournaments. Nutrition is very important when playing multiple games over multiple days. You need a lot of energy to perform well. Prepare by eating meals high in carbohydrates 24-48 hours before the start of a tournament. The body breaks down carbohydrates and stores them in your muscles as energy.
Hydration, it’s not just water
Maintaining adequate hydration levels will help you perform to your best ability and prevent fatigue and injury. Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated.
- If a practice or competition is less than one hour, water is your best choice
- If practice or competition is longer than one hour, sport drinks will provide fuel for working muscles and replace electrolytes lost through sweat
- Look for sports drinks with water, carbs, sodium, and potassium
- Avoid pediatric rehydration products, coconut water, enhanced water, low-calorie sports drinks, and sport drinks with b vitamins or caffeine
- Drink water throughout the day, don’t wait until practice.
- The most effective way to stay hydrated is to carry a water bottle
- After exercise replace fluids and electrolytes lost:16-24 oz of fluid for every pound lost during exercise
Some special considerations:
- Early morning games require planning ahead. Maintaining hydration the day before is essential.
- Tournaments require extra attention to hydration. Post-game fluid should contain carbohydrates, protein, and electrolytes. Low-fat chocolate milk is a great option.
What should your fluid intake be?
Every person is different. Monitor urine, sweat, and thirst. If your urine is dark, you need to drink more fluids. If you are thirsty, you need more fluids!
Have a great summer!
If you have any questions contact Virginia Winn, MSc, ATC at [email protected].