Rest, both physical and emotional, is an important part of any sport. Maintaining a level of fitness during the off-season, however, is both good for the body and can help reduce the risk of injury when the season starts again.
Taking a few days to a week off after your sport ends isn’t a bad idea. It gives your body a break and helps you recharge mentally. But make sure a few days doesn’t turn into a month.
Cardiovascular fitness can diminish very quickly with complete rest. The 10 percent rule helps to guide us in how quickly we can increase our activity safely. You don’t want to increase our activity by more than 10 percent week over week. This can include weights, training time, mileage or participation in the actual sport.
If you have the next season as your goal, make sure to give yourself adequate time to train without ramping up too quickly. The easiest way to do this is to maintain your fitness level.
Maintaining your cardiovascular fitness doesn’t necessarily mean running. Swimming, biking and using an elliptical are also great options if you’re looking to give your joints a break. Strength is the other important aspect of physical fitness. Use either body weight exercises or gym equipment. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Whichever you chose, make sure you are lifting correctly and that your program targets the entire body, from legs to core to arms. Getting a workout in 3-5 days a week during the off season is a good goal to have. Stretching is essential in helping to prevent injuries and helping to cool your body down after a workout.
Once the season gets closer, tailor your workouts so that they are more sport-specific. This could include going to the field or basketball court and doing agility work and shooting drills. Keep in mind the 10 percent rule. Be sure to listen to your body and get good sleep and eat a balanced diet. This will set you up for success in your next sports season.
For more information on how to perform your best no matter what season you’re in, visit www.Mysportshealth.org