How exactly can a hockey player of any age achieve their peak performance on the ice? Attending every game and practice just isn’t enough. If you have perfect attendance in your hockey league but aren’t active otherwise and eat junk for the rest of the week, you’ll still feel sluggish and out of energy on the ice. That’s why as a player, you should try to stay healthy throughout the entire year especially during the season.
It’s a common misconception that “being healthy” only relates to what you eat. In fact, it involves other things too, such as exercising regularly and maintaining good mental health. For example, someone could eat super-foods, salads, and lean protein every day, but they also might be constantly stressed and anxious. So, to stay healthy during the hockey season, players should focus on three main areas: eating right, exercising properly, and keeping a good mindset.
Here’s a quick overview of how a dedicated hockey player’s diet looks:
-Plenty of carbohydrates, i.e. fruits, vegetables, beans, and gran foods like rice and breads
-Correct amount of protein; lean protein is best
-Drink lots of water
-After workouts (practices, games, etc.) drink fluids with electrolytes, i.e. sports drinks
-Avoid junk food
To achieve maximum performance on the ice, hockey players should do their best to stick to this type of diet. Of course, cheat days and junk food are perfectly fine here and there. However, you must remember to constantly fuel your body with healthy foods for the most part. This is especially true during the hockey season, when you’re practicing and playing games regularly.
Yes, as a hockey player, you get good exercise from your practices and games, but you could be doing even better to stay in great physical shape. Varying your physical activity during the hockey season allows you to develop more strength, speed, and endurance that will help you on the ice. It will also keep your body conditioned to reduce the chance of injury or fatigue! Try other exercises like running, cycling, or even another sport during the hockey season; it can make a huge difference.
Another component of proper exercise that athletes always forget is to take care of any injuries. If you’re exercising and you pull a muscle, cut yourself, or incur any other kind of injury, make sure you’re completely recovered before exercising that part of your body again. Often, exercising while injured can just make the injury worse, and slow down the recovery process. Then you certainly won’t be able to deliver your peak performance during your hockey games.
Having a healthy mindset during the hockey season is crucial to success, but often neglected by hockey players. Mental health is just as important as physical health and diet, especially for an athlete. It’s important to have a method of stress release while you’re in your hockey season, especially if you’re playing high-level hockey where the games are more crucial. Tryouts are also a notable time of stress for hockey players.
Even a player who exercises five times a week, takes care of their injuries, and eats right as rain can have their performance affected by stress. Calming activities such as listening to music, reading, hiking, and meditation can work wonders for relieving stress for hockey players during the season.
In addition, maintaining focus and a drive to improve oneself can be considered “staying healthy.” Setting goals and reminding yourself of your motivation for them can really help keep you on the right track in terms of being physically healthy and developing your hockey skills. To become better at any activity in life, you need to have the desire to improve in the first place. So long as you stay hungry to become a better hockey player, the exercise and dieting forms of keeping healthy during the season will come naturally.
Yes, it can be difficult to gather up the time and effort to make sure you’re eating properly, exercising consistently, and have a good mindset about your hockey. And it will certainly take some time to get used to. But once you’re able to coordinate all three and incorporate them into your daily life, you will reap the rewards. Staying healthy will bring success at your practices, games, and even shape you into a better person physically and mentally for the rest of your life.
Republished with permission from Tim Turk Hockey
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