Children's Hospital Colorado: Taking Time Off; How Important Rest is for Your Body

Children's Hospital Colorado: Taking Time Off; How Important Rest is for Your Body

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It is important to take adequate rest not only during season but in your offseason as well. Rest and taking time off dramatically decreases the risk of overuse injuries, increases performance, and gives you the opportunity to enjoy other activities. We recommend one day per week every month of adequate rest to attain optimal athletic performance and overall improvement.

Overuse injuries account for approximately 50% of all injuries in the pediatric population. These injuries can be expensive, resulting in a loss of participation, a number of physician’s visits, and long term and often recurring treatment and physical therapy.

If not treated effectively, chronic injuries can lead to growth related disorders and repeated micro traumas. Growth related disorders include Osgood-Schlatter’s disease, Sever’s disease, and other epiphysis, or growth plate, injuries. Repeated micro traumas to bone and soft tissue can lead to stress injuries, such as stress fractures and reactions. These injuries often lead to pain and disability. The cause of these injuries may be attributed to training errors, improper techniques, weak muscles and imbalances, excessive sport training, inadequate rest, and early specialization.

A simple, everyday way to incorporate rest into your life is through sleep. Pushing through fatigue does more harm than good. Many studies show that kids and teenagers are not getting enough sleep: adolescents should get at least 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep. The growth hormone is released during sleep, which is necessary for the stimulation and repair of muscles and tissues, building bone, burning fat, and aiding in the body's repair and recovery. Having a regular sleep schedule and sleeping in a good, cool environment, free of electronics and noise is ideal for proper rest.

During periods of rest, take the time to focus on other activities you enjoy and nutrition. Cross-training is a great option if you want to stay active. Also take this time to hangout with friends and family, take a trip, explore your hometown, learn to cook, or try something new.

Taking the time to know how to properly fuel your body during the off season will make it easier to do so in-season. As a growing adolescent and athlete, your diet should include a balance of carbs, proteins, and fat. Below is the importance of each macro nutrient, what percentage of your intake should be, and whole food examples:
Carbohydrates help the nervous system, brain, and muscles function. Carbohydrates should make up approximately 60% of the athlete's diet. Grains, fruits, and vegetables are great sources of carbohydrates.

Proteins aid in muscle recovery. Proteins should make up 15-20% of an athlete’s diet. Lean meats, skinless poultry, fish, eggs, and soy are great sources of protein.

Fats are important for the delivery of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients needed for growth and functioning. Fats also provide essential fatty acids, which the body can use as an energy source; 20-25% of the athlete’s diet should include fats. Natural food sources include meat, fish, dairy products, oils (olive oil, coconut oil, etc.), and nuts.

If you have any questions contact Virginia Winn, MSc, ATC at [email protected].