An athletic spin to fitness
Deccan Chronicle.| Bindu Gopal Rao
You can also set specific athletic goals such as training for a race or competition or improving your performance in a particular sport. (Representational Image)
There are several ways to incorporate athletics into your fitness regimen. You can participate in organized sports leagues or competitions, join fitness classes that focus on athletic activities, or just engage in informal recreational sports with friends or family. You can also set specific athletic goals such as training for a race or competition or improving your performance in a particular sport.
Prateek Kumar, Founder, FitCru, sounds a note of caution. "To prevent injuries, start carefully and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your activities if you are new to athletics or a particular sport. Always warm up and cool down before and after indulging in athletic activities. This will get your muscles and joints ready for the physical demands and also aid in your body’s recovery. To protect yourself and improve your performance, use appropriate and well-fitting athletic clothing and equipment. If you are new to a sport or activity, it is a good idea to get advice from a trained coach or instructor to learn the right skills."
Including athletics in your fitness plan can have several advantages. Strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance can all be enhanced along with cardiovascular stamina. Mental health will also benefit as team sports and recreational sports lower stress, elevate mood, and encourage social connections.
Vishal Mankani, Celebrity Fitness Coach and Founder, Happy Healthy Holy, says, "First, determine which sports interest you and align with your fitness goals. For example, if you want to improve cardiovascular endurance, running or swimming are good options. Incorporate different sports and activities into your routine to avoid boredom and overuse injuries. You could alternate between running and cycling or swimming and tennis."
Satrajit Sen, Mentor & Advisor, Offbeat Strength, adds, "athletes performing any sport become very consistent and disciplined in a particular fitness regime which helps them perform to the best of their abilities and push limits. This helps them reach new fitness highs and become better versions of themselves."
Mix it Up
Athletic activities like running, swimming, and cycling are excellent for building cardiovascular endurance. "Weightlifting, gymnastics, and certain track and field events require significant strength training. Athletics can provide an opportunity for cross-training, where you engage in different types of exercises to target different muscle groups and avoid overuse injuries. Depending on your fitness goals, you can choose the right activity and build a fun fitness regime," says Nehal Chudasama, fitness consultant and Miss Universe Diva 2018. "If you wish to incorporate athletics to your fitness regime, the easiest activities to add could be running, swimming and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) activities like sprints, plyometrics, and circuit training. Joining a team sport like football, cricket, or volleyball is also a great way to improve cardiovascular endurance, build strength, and develop teamwork skills. Individual sports like tennis and martial arts offer a different type of challenge," she adds.
Dr. Nataraj H M, Head of Orthopaedics, Robotic Surgery and Sports Surgeon, Belenus Champion Hospital, says, "athletics include competitive running, jumping, throwing and walking. Incorporation of these exercises is very simple, cost effective and fun. There’s no need for a big team or big dedicated area to play unlike certain sports. Athletics have holistic health benefits like muscle toning, weight/fat reduction, improvement in blood pressure and blood sugar and improved heart and lung functions." He cautions that resting for 1 or 2 days a week is essential for recovery. "Excessive athletic activities can lead to overuse injuries like shin splints, stress fractures, tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome and these can be avoided by following proper techniques and adequate training volumes," he notes.
Deepti Sharma, Director Multifit and Certified Personal Trainer adds, "choose activities that you enjoy and that challenge you physically. This will help you stay motivated and interested in your workouts. Stay hydrated throughout your workouts and eat a balanced diet to support your physical activity."
So, are you ready to hit the ground running?