Having and practicing proper wellness habits can both be big assets on and off the field.
“When we talk about wellness, it’s really nutrition, hydration and rest,” says Frank Velasquez, director of sports performance for Allegheny Health Network. “Three things we do every day. Three little things that make a big difference on how your body functions and how you perform.”
There are a few key habits that can help you make sure you’re getting the most out of your food. Velasquez’s first tip is to eat a solid breakfast every day. Start your mornings off with good food in order to kick-start your metabolism for the day. You also want to make sure that you are eating frequently. “Feed the machine,” according to Velasquez. Having small, light snacks between meals can help you maintain a quality level of energy throughout the day.
Don’t feel guilty if you happen to indulge every once in a while, though. Velasquez believes in the “80:20 rule” when it comes to eating. “Eighty percent of the time, it’s quality food,” he says. “Twenty percent, you know, it’s the stuff that tastes a lot better and maybe is not as good for us.”
Your daily hydration habits can also be important to your wellness. “We have this term in baseball and softball: ‘early and often,’” Velasquez says. “That’s how you want to score runs; that’s how you want to drink. I want to drink early and I want to drink often throughout the day.”
To keep up with this “early and often” mentality, be sure to have plenty of water and sports drinks available. This is especially true during training or intense activity. Velasquez notes that when you sweat during these intense exercises, you lose electrolytes. This can cause an imbalance and potentially lead to symptoms like fatigue, he explains.
“When we get that imbalance, that’s when a muscle cramp may occur and that may lead to injury,” he adds. “So you want to make sure you’re getting your electrolytes in, whether that be through sports drinks or your food.”
According to Velasquez, some foods that are high in electrolytes include potassium-rich bananas. Crackers, pretzels and other salty snacks are also good sources, he says.
Finally, you have to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. There are vital hormone releases and muscle repairs that occur in your sleep, according to Velasquez. It’s recommended that you get eight to 10 hours of sleep in order to keep these processes flowing naturally.
Remember these Pro Tips to help transcend the diamond with your baseball and softball training program. Use these wellness guidelines and better yourself for a healthy career on and off the field.