Taking Care of Yourself As an Athlete

Rougly one in four American adults today participate in sports. From informal soccer or basketball leagues all the way to college and professional sports — sports are extremely poopular in the United States. But whether someone is part of the NFL or just playing casual baseball at the local park, it is important to put health first. Sports are great fun, and there are many benefits to getting this kind of exercise, but urgent care and emergency care might be necessary if an athlete is not careful. It’s important for athletes of any level to pay attention to the trends in the sporting world and get ideas on how to be a safer and healthier athlete. So, let us consider some health tips athletes should keep in mind:

Visiting Eye Clinics

There is more to being an athlete than having a high running speed or a good batting average. Everyone needs to stay on top of their health from head to toe, and that even includes visiting eye clinic to have their eyeballs examined. Nothing in the body should be taken for granted, even if an athlete is in good shape and is the star of their team. Take note that a person doesn’t have to already suffer poor vision to justify a visit to an eye clinic. However, getting your eyes checked out once a year is a good idea, just to be safe. Routine medical checkups like this are essential for diagnosing developing problems early, while there is still time to address them.

An athlete can visit their eye doctor to have all kinds of unexpected issues diagnosed early, ranging from glaucomas all the way to cataracts or even diabetes. An optometrist can conduct routine exams, and for the diagnosis of more serious problems, an ophthalmologist’s attention is a must. When a patient visits, they should come prepared, such as bringing along their eyeglasses or contact lenses, though they should also ask the doctor ahead of time if they should stop wearing contacts in the days leading up to the exam. The patient should also bring all of their current medications and supplements, and a list of all current allergies or other health conditions. And, of course, records of medical insurance, along with a list of any questions to ask the doctor. During an exam, the doctor may listen to the patient as they describe their health and any family history of eye disease. The doctor will then test for cataracts, glaucoma, and even high blood pressure and arthritis or diabetes by examining the eyeballs.

Contact Professional Health Coaches

Plenty of athletes work with health coaches to stay at the top of their game, but people of all skill levels can work with these professionals. But what might a health coach actually do for their client? Often, clients approach a health coach because they experience frequent sluggishness, or they are overweight or feel weak and run-down. Often, someone who wants to get into sports can consult such a coach, and through athletic activities and other healthy lifestyle choices, they could totally transform their everyday health. When a client consults a health coach, they can learn a new lifestyle routine that may help them feel more youthful and energetic, and do away with miserable diets that didn’t work anyway. No particular outcome is being guaranteed here, but anyone who has trouble transforming their health on their own may get good results when they consult a coach. A health coach may also ask their client to describe the kind of life they want to have in the near future, and that helps both parties set some clear goals and work toward them.

Visit a Rehab Center

It is an unfortunate truth that many Americans, some of them adolescents, suffer from drug abuse problems, often abusing opioids or prescription painkillers. Americans abuse substances for all sorts of reasons, and the consequences can be dire. Such as the serious financial strain of funding a drug habit, not to mention personality changes and alienating friends and family. Drug abusers also run major risks of overdosing and possibly dying. In fact, drug overdoses rank first among all causes of accidental death today in the United States.

Taking a trip to a rehab center can help athletes of all kinds overcome serious issues. A drug addict who undergoes a detox therapy will face a drug-free life, and the temptation to relapse may be lower if that recovered addict has something better to do instead. Taking part in a new sport or cardio routine is a fine way to move on past a drug habit, and a recovered addict can get a much better sort of high this way. Exercising released endorphins, known as the “runner’s high,” and in fact exercise is a great way to improve someone’s mood and increase circulation to the brain. Daily exercise is a good idea for many reasons, some of which are mental. Rather than abusing heroin to feel good, a recovering addict can start jogging, playing basketball, or swimming to occupy their time and feel good about themselves. It is an improvement in every way.

Take Little Athletes to Pediatric Clinics

Bear in mind that not all athletes are fully grown. While it is true (unfortunately) that many American children are not getting the American Heart Association’s suggested levels of exercise, kids are still active across the nation today. In fact, exercise is vital for not just building up a youngster’s muscles and coordination, but also their mental growth. Studies show that a child who doesn’t get regular exercise may suffer from limited mental development, so kids ought to get up and get moving to grow into healthy adults. Better yet, sports are a great way (without electronic screens) for children to have great fun and occupy themselves, and sports are widely accepted as a fine way to teach children good sportsmanship, leadership, and teamwork. For these reasons and more, many children are enrolled in sports classes for tennis, soccer, basketball, and much more. High schoolers can join their school’s teams, and if nothing else, they can at least make the most of gym class.

Kids can still get hurt, though, and if this happens, their parents or guardians (or even their coach) can take them to pediatric urgent care centers. These are not hospitals; rather, a child can get urgent care for non-emergency medical problems. Pediatricians are specialized doctors who understand the anatomy and health needs of babies, small children, and adolescents, and a child can get this kind of care if they get hurt on the field. Minor physical wounds can be addressed at a clinic, such as stitches and bandages for shallow cuts, or braces and wraps for ankle and wrist sprains, or even a brace. A child can also undergo a routine exam. Besides that, pediatric clinics can treat children who are suffering mundane problems such as repeated vomiting, diarrhea, a high fever, an ear infection, and an upset stomach.

Head to an Adult Urgent Care

A grown athlete is a tough and physically fit person, but they are not indestructible. Anyone who gets hurt while playing sports, performing cardio, or lifting weights should find local urgent care clinics and get checked out by a nurse practitioner or a physician working there. The good news is that the urgent care industry is quite robust, and several thousand urgent care clinics have been built across the U.S. since the year 2000. A typical urgent care center is a small, independent medical facility staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who can take care of minor medical issues, and they often have pharmacists on hand, too. As for where to find them, many urgent care clinics are built into strip malls, and some are found inside major retailers (these are called retail clinics). Some are even built into hospitals, and they provide distinct care from the hospital itself.

Such medical care is quite convenient, for an athlete or anyone else, since these centers often feature short wait times and low expenses compared to the ER. In fact, a clinic that is running smoothly may see three patients per hour. A guest may get stitches or bandages for minor cuts, and braces and wraps for wrist and ankle sprains. Bad cases of sunburn and skin rashes can be treated here, as can upper respiratory issues or the common cold and flu. Four in five urgent care clinic also provide treatment for bone fractures, which may be quite relevant for an athlete who suffered a bad fall or collision during a game.

Seek Out Emergency Care (When Necessary)

It may not be pleasant to think about, but for safety’s sake, a current or aspiring athlete should be prepared in case they suffer a major injury or condition that could threaten their life. An urgent care center will not do; instead, the patient must be rushed to an emergency care clinic, or even a hospital’s ER. There, trained doctors and physicians can get a patient out of danger and help them recover.

What calls for this level of care? An athlete may have suffered a broken arm or leg while playing, such as football players, or the athlete experienced major trauma to the head or one or both eyeballs. Cracked ribs might puncture the lungs or other organs, and that will definitely call for emergency medical attention, too. If the patient suddenly suffered major chest pain or difficulty breathing during a game or practice session, or if they suffered a stroke or heat stroke, emergency care is a must.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

There is no doubt that becoming an athlete, or at least performing rigorous exercise, is a fine way to burn calories and develop muscle as a good way to prevent obesity and lose weight. But don’t forget the diet, either, which can make all the difference. In fact, an improved diet can lead to some weight loss even if the person does not start exercising (but if they do both, the results are better). Today, many Americans are eating poorly, often consuming a lot of heavily processed (often frozen) foods, not to mention fast food. Such foods have a lot of added sugar, fat, and oil in them to improve their taste, but at the expense of added calories that cause rapid weight gain. Such food are often poor in nutrients, instead packing a lot of empty calories. Most dessert items such as ice cream, cookies, and cake are nothing but bad sugar, fat, and calories.

So, anyone aspiring to become a good athlete will improve their diet, and this means consulting a nutritionist and their doctor for good ideas. Bear in mind that a major change in diet might upset the body or lead to unexpected consequences, so an interested party is urged to get medical advice first. This is especially true if the client has particular health needs or complications, such as diabetes, allergies, or current medications. On top of that, the client may learn what sort of exercises are safe for them, and which are not.

What does a proper athlete diet look like? An athlete is not going to eat any fast food or processed foods. Instead, they will have a leaner diet that is much more balanced, and it will include fruits and vegetables, lean meat, dairy such as milk and cheese, and whole grains. Darker breads and rice are better, since they have more nutrients, as opposed to heavily enriched and bleached white rice and bread (despite the sound of it, “enriched” food is a bad deal). Such a diet can help make weight loss easier alongside exercise, and help maintain the athlete’s energy levels and fuel their body with wholesome calories and nutrients of all kinds. Besides, this can improve the immune system and various organs, and it can open up all kinds of new recipe and cooking ideas. A lean, healthy diet for an athlete doesn’t have to be boring or plain.

Conclusion

Clearly, there is more to an athlete’s career than their batting average or how well they can dribble a basketball. An athlete will know the limits of their body, and understand that anything may be at risk or develop issues. So, regular checkups with a variety of doctors and specialists allows an aspiring or current athlete to spot problems early and correct minor errors in their diet and lifestyle. All of this can lead to a thrilling lifestyle and, on the field, a good game every time.

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