It is super important to stay healthy so that athletes can compete at their very best. And during this flu season especially, staying healthy is a widely discussed topic.
Being “healthy” means different things for different people, but there is a general idea that most strive for, and it encompasses more than just the physical aspects. Physical Health is probably way is thought of most when it comes to health, but there is also mental, emotional and spiritual that all can impact how a person feels. Since wrestling is an individual and a very demanding sport, athletes need to feel their best in order to compete at their best.
To be physically healthy, wrestlers need to be eating right. This doesn’t mean that they have to nothing but eat chicken and rice all day every day with no treats at all, but it means that their meals need to be balanced with a good mix of carbs, fats and proteins. They need to eat lots of plants, and good sources of protein, healthy fats, but also should enjoy it with a few treats every once in a while. They need to eat enough to fuel their body, and they cannot starve themselves and they shouldn’t do crash diets (in order to make weight). The hard part is finding balance between being too strict and then not being strict enough. Food is essential to fueling wrestlers bodies in order for them to compete well. Carbs are the body’s main source of fuel, muscles use them to expand and contract and need them. Proteins are the primary building blocks to build more and maintain the muscles athletes have, and fats are the main source of fuel for the brain- the organ that keeps everything else going.
Speaking of the mind, mental health is very important and wrestlers should focus on that aspect too. Mental health is not a very commonly talked about subject in the athletic world but needs to be. Athletes go through a lot of things in their respective sports, and especially in such a demanding and individual sport like wrestling. Feelings of depression and anxiety are often felt, and the ways that wrestlers deal with those are very important. Some like to journal, talk to counselors or trusted confidants, however, if it is bigger than something they can overcome on their own, sometimes seeing a doctor is necessary. These feeling are ok, but they can have a big negative impact on athletes, and need to be understood and acknowledged. Having open dialogue about these kinds of feelings is important to help keep athletes mentally healthy too.
Emotional health is often coupled with mental health, and though it is similar, there is a distinction between the two. Emotions constantly flow through athletes on a daily basis and these feelings can impact ones mood and eventually impact habits and who they are. Being able to deal with these emotions is necessary to their daily health, and especially for competing. Often times wrestlers have some kind of outlet whether it be something creative like arts, or music or even cooking or something they can do that they enjoy in order to keep them emotionally healthy and happy. Also, when it comes to competitions and feelings like nervousness or fear need to be dealt with. Part of a wrestlers health is also learning to work through or work with the emotions they feel and using them to their advantage to compete.
Another aspect of health is spiritual. There are many athletes that identify with many different religions or other spiritual practices. Whether that is organized religion Christianity, Buddhism, or even something less organized and more personal. Even if it is not a religion, it is important to feel as if ones life has purpose and meaning, and often staying balanced and centered. The goal is to feel peace, and whatever brings an athlete peace should be emphasized.
Health is so important for any athlete and for wrestlers especially and focusing on personal overall health is one of the main aspects in creating a good wrestler.
So as time goes on, lets focus on creating great wrestlers, but also health wrestlers for now as they compete and even for them later on in life.