The Oracle

Ways to keep athletes healthy and safe

The Oracle

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Preseason Training

By: Wayland Fong

With my lungs burning and my heart ready to burst out of my chest, I neared the finish line for the first cross-country race of the season. Only two things were on my mind: pain and regret. The regret of not attending conditioning pained me both physically and mentally. The runners passing by seemed to mock me with each stride. I finally realized the importance of preseason training and promised myself that I would not make such a sorry mistake ever again.

Preseason conditioning is renowned to be the “cheat sheet” for athletes. It is supposed to give an athlete a head start in the sport before the season begins by becoming mentally and physically prepared. Many teams, however, recommend conditioning to get a competitive advantage. High schools also offer preseason training to high school students to encourage students who do the sport year-round.

Athletes depend on conditioning to stay in shape, as the benefits from participating in conditioning range from improved muscle memory to increased mental preparedness. In addition, athletes are able to train with a more individualized approach than during the regular season. According to Sports-Fitness-Trainer.com, an online fitness website, it only takes 50 percent of the effort to enter a sport if the athlete has undergone previous conditioning. Athletes will gain a comparable advantage over others who do not have previous training.

Many athletes involved in contact sports get injured early on in the season. However, whether the injury is from a kick to the knee or a full-on tackle, conditioning can help prevent such injuries. In addition to injuries, physical preparedness can prevent cramps, sprains, and shin splints. With no conditioning, an athlete may not be ready for the sport because his or her body is not used to the movements of the game. The required awareness, muscle strength and aerobic and anaerobic endurance for success during the season must be obtained through frequent physical activity. Training through conditioning provides such safety measures for the athlete.

Preseason conditioning may not be the best option for everyone, but it definitely makes a difference in one’s performance during the season. The payoff for athletes participating in preseason conditioning is apparent through their performance. In an environment where people are constantly looking to get a head start, preseason conditioning may be the answer to every athlete’s problems.

Supplemental Extreme Workouts

By: Emily Yao

In a society where being “ripped” is a positive term in defining people as having attractive bodies, it’s no surprise that people are scrambling to find the fastest methods to develop a six-pack. Because going to the gym can be inconvenient, people have been settling on extreme workouts for the home, including P90X and INSANITY.

Subjective advertisements with well-knownpersonal trainers and exercise instructors, make it appear that these extreme workouts are actually beneficial in developing a fit body. However, they are actually not necessary in becoming a successful athlete. In fact, extreme home workouts should be eliminated because they cause harmful health problems in the long run and are being done for the wrong reasons.

Because of their intensity, extreme home workouts can cause harm to many body parts such as the muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments. For example, even when one warms up before doing a P90X workout, the workout can still have damaging effects. According to LiveStrong, a website that provides health advice, although the videos in the P90X series start with a warm-up, muscles can still be stressed and overworked by using weights that are too heavy, doing the exercises incorrectly or performing more repetitions than your muscles can handle.

Similarly, many people who have gone through the INSANITY workouts have experienced shoulder injuries after doing the upper body segment of the program. Because the workouts are done at home, no professional trainer is usually there to correct one’s movements, and this can lead to injuries that could have been avoided.

In addition, people are mostly doing these workouts not so they can be healthy, but so that they can develop an aesthetically-pleasing and ripped physique. However, it has been proven that striving for a six-pack by undertaking intense ab training is physically unhealthy. According to biomechanics and kinesiology specialist Michael Yessis, many people develop hunchback conditions because of excessive abdominal crunches.

Thus, instead of doing extreme home workouts to look better, one should exercise to feel better. Continuing with the theme of exercising at home, the most beneficial workout is yoga, a holistic exercise that helps to relieve stress and tone muscles.

The problem with extreme home workouts is that they encourage thinking about how one’s outer appearance will be perceived by the public. However, a good-looking body will not help with athletic success. Instead, it is much more important to focus on making sure one feels comfortable in one’s body.

Pressure on Athletes

By: Zoe Weisner

The life of a famous athlete seems enviable: he or she gets million-dollar contracts, lives in a nice house and has a huge fan base. Although professional athletes make playing sports seem effortless, the amount of pressure placed on them to perform well is tremendous and leads many athletes to depression.  According to the British Psychological Society, stress-related illnesses are extremely common in professional sports, and they are becoming more so as the pressures on athletes increase due to round-the-clock media attention and the huge amounts of money at stake should they fail.

For instance, Miki Ando was a two-time Japanese national figure skating champion, the 2004 Junior World champion and the first female skater to successfully complete a quadruple jump in competition. When Ando’s athletic performance struggled in 2005 and 2006, her media coverage turned negative. In fact, the Japanese Skating Federation was so concerned about the media coverage as she prepared for the 2006 Olympics that they sent formal written requests to several magazine publishers, asking them to cut back on their coverages.

When famous athletes fail to meet the expectations of their hype, not only does the media viciously attack them, but so do their fans. When the Stanford Cardinals, the college football team, lost during the Fiesta Bowl due to three consecutive missed field goals by freshman kicker Jordan Williamson, fans reacted by posting angry comments on social media sites, blaming Williamson for the Cardinals’ loss. On the contrary, Williamson’s entire team supported him and admitted that it was not Williamson’s fault but the entire team’s.

Some may argue that the stress that comes from the pressure to succeed improves an athlete’s skill. However, the amount of mental strain on an athlete to play exceptionally well can lead them to cheating out of desperation. One of the most popular methods athletes use to enhance their performance is by taking drugs. However in the long run, using drugs negatively affects the health of an athlete. According to the Nemour’s Health Center, the use of steroids increases the chances of heart disease and causes liver damage. Professional athletes who use drugs tend to risk everything for their careers, even if their lives are on the line.

Society and athletes should realize that life is not about winning, and that unnecessary pressure  placed on them causes unhealthy competition. Athletes are not robots; they are human beings with feelings, so they should not be remembered for their mistakes.

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Ways to keep athletes healthy and safe