There are many aspects to being a good athlete. Sticking to a training schedule, carefully planning your diet, and consciously planning time to rest and recover play a major role in your performance. However, an often overlooked element, and one that can have a dramatic effect on your next event is actively listening to what your body needs and providing for it accordingly.
Your body needs proper nutrients to fuel your muscles while you're working out. Even if you're eating a healthy diet, if your body isn't able to digest the food you eat, you won't have access to those nutrients. Optimizing your digestion can boost your energy and shorten recovery time. Consider this analogy: even the strongest professional cyclists can be slowed down by flat tires, rubbing brakes and worn out bearings. The energy they're putting into the pedals is not being transferred efficiently to propelling the bike forward. The same goes for your digestive system: if the nutrients you are putting into your body are not being properly digested, they're as wasted as the energy a cyclist puts into riding a bike with flat tires. There are several ways in which acupuncture can help to ensure you're properly digesting your food and energizing your muscles.
Intense and prolonged training can take a toll on your immune system. We've all experienced those poorly timed colds; the ones where you've been training for a long time and shortly before the competition, some bug makes its way into your system. Well, here is the good news. A study of professional female soccer players showed that players who received acupuncture were able to prevent the decrease in antibody count while at the peak of their training intensity.
Even with careful training and correct form, injuries can still occur. IT band tightness, joint pain, muscle strains and ligament sprains, tendonitis, fatigue and pain are all common among elite level athletes. Acupuncture has a proven track record in decreasing pain, swelling, stiffness and bruising as well as minimizing lactic acid build-up. Acupuncture needles are able to release muscle and myofascial tension to relieve pain and increase your range of motion. Treating these injuries as soon as you can helps shorten the recovery time and get you back out on the field, road or court.
Whether you're training for your first 5km run, a triathlete gearing up for Ironman or you just want to be in tip-top shape, consider acupuncture to help you achieve your next competitive goal.