Mental healthcare for recreational athletes is as important as it is for competitive athletes.
Over the years this has become an important and visible global issue requiring strong and immediate action.
At least 40% of children and adolescents in a majority of countries worldwide, and approximately 20% of all adults globally, participate in organized recreational sport. fewer than 6% of these are likely to be elite athletes and covered under current statements pertaining to mental healthcare in sport.
This is important because based on world wide prevalence and participation data, approximately 8% of the population may participate in sport and have a mental health problem.
Our role as a health-care clinicians is to increase awareness for the general population and provide practical policy and guidelines to enhance mental health care safely and effectively.
We should be able to manage individuals looking for all contributing issues, optimize training & rehabilitation, and consider an individualized approach focusing on psycho-social factors following a plan that is well structured by an interdisciplinary team.
With the heat comes a whole host of different complaints and injuries.
Whilst it is still ok to train outdoors this summer, one must be mindful of the environment and situation that you’re putting yourself into. It is not actually dangerous to exercise in the heat. What can be dangerous is how each of us as individuals handle the heat. Your nutrition and preparation is key.
Often injuries happen when athletes lose focus or have a lapse in concentration caused by the heat. Problems also arise from cramping, as muscles contract and shorten and can become very tight. I have been treating a lot of lower limb complaints over the past few weeks caused from calf tightness.
Here are a few tips when dealing with the heat:
Plan where to exercise: In Dubai this is difficult as we can’t hide from the sun due to a lack of trees. However you can still get out into the desert or outlying areas. In the city the heat gets stuck in between houses and temperatures are warmer, so try mix your training up a bit. I like to ride and out at Meydan and behind the cycle track. Temperatures are sometimes up to 3-4 degrees cooler here.
Drink 750 ml an hour: You should try consume a big bottle every hour (750 ml of fluids). During the cooler weather I usually have one bottle with plain water and one with a sports specific drink, but in the summer, I use one bottle with a sports drink and another one with a rehydration tablet to keep the correct electrolyte levels in my body.
Keep your head cool: When your head overheats you can become tired and lose focus. Try run in a cap that you can soak in water to keep you cool.
Add salt to food: We tend to lose a lot more sodium in the summer. Ever notice that “salty crust” on your clothes or face after you train? Sodium is vitally important. The body uses sodium to control blood pressure and blood volume. Your body also needs sodium for your muscles and nerves to work properly. A lack of sodium can cause tiredness, lethargy, again a lack in concentration as well as muscle cramps.
Avoid alcohol before training sessions : Alcohol, particularly at high doses, can cause you to excrete more than you consume. Unlike caffeine. One drink, especially of beer, won’t do much (it’s about 92 percent water), but wine and hard liquor have more of a dehydrating effect because of their higher alcohol content. If planning to train outside, do not have a big night before. In this hot weather your body needs to retain fluids, not get rid of them.
It is equally important to hydrate when swimming
I was recently recommended a great recovery supplement that has done me the world of good. This I take straight after a training session to supplement my electrolyte loss. It is called Bix. It was developed by an ultramarathon runner, Vlad Ixel. Who also has incredible videos on YouTube- check him out!
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