fitnessGetting back in shape after time away from sports can be a difficult proposition for even the most energetic of athletes. After all, the end of the season should be a time for celebration, not an excuse to go back to the gym, right?

You can always maintain the state of your body and mind even in the off season by just following a simple yet effective exercise routine, saving all your hard work during the sports season. Despite the difficulties of preparing for an upcoming sports season after a long break, there are a few tips and tricks to make the transition easier.

How to Maintain Your Strength for the Upcoming Sports Season
When it comes to maintaining your strength for the upcoming winter sports season, it should primarily take care of three things:

  • Preparing your body physically, mentally, and tactically for the obstacles ahead.
  • Undergoing specific exercises that will benefit the muscles most used in your sport.
  • Turning your athletic workout into a routine that you won’t feel the urge to back out of.

Stay Motivated
Before going into specific workout routines, it’s important to first address an often overlooked topic in athletic performance: mental strength.

  • If an athlete isn’t motivated enough, they’re less likely to shift back into sports with the enthusiasm they’ll need for success.
  • With that in mind, it’s important to set goals for what you expect from your workout routine and what you hope to achieve with it.

For those that have taken a break from working out in the off-season, these goals should start off simple before moving into harder goals.

Participate in Winter Sports
As far as specific exercises are concerned, there are a few key exercises that are great for any winter athlete. In general,

  • Winter sports are about building strength in three areas: the core, the quadriceps, and the hamstrings.
  • To accomplish this, push-ups and invisible chair exercises are two simple ways to continually build strength, both in the off-season and during sports season.

Keep Your Body in Shape in the Off-Season
While building your body for an athletic event is a great way to stay motivated in living a healthy lifestyle, it’s easy to slip back into old habits once you move into the off-season. To help combat that, we’re going to talk about a few tricks to keep your body in top shape so the transition back into sports season won’t be as difficult. Here are a few tips to get healthy and stay prepared in the off-season:

Attend a summer conditioning program
Although this mainly concerns high school athletes, a summer conditioning program is a great way of staying in shape during the off-season and helps to keep the body in the routine it established during the winter months.

Stay connected with teammates
To help make a program like this really resonate, it’s best if done with former teammates or friends. For those that don’t have a summer conditioning program, going to the gym regularly with friends is a fantastic substitute that ensures you won’t back out due to boredom.

Remember the importance of proper hydration and nutrition
Just as it’s important when you have an event, it’s equally important to keep an eye on what you’re putting in your body in the off-season. While the urge to “cheat” on a diet may be great, that’s simply more work that will have to be burned off when it’s game time in a few months once again.

While there are plenty of tips for staying in shape during the off-season, these six tips should serve as a helpful base from which you can expand your training regimen. No one said that keeping your body in shape would be easy, but at least these tips can help to make it just a little bit easier.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Michelle Holincheck, FNP