Being a champion and enjoying many of the benefits of success as an athlete can be great. What they don't tell you is that the same body you put through so much now will be the same one you have to stick with as you grow old.
We see the negatives of this with the concussion problem in the NFL. If you keep acting like a warrior that can never be wounded, there is a price to pay. Of course, the choice is yours, but you must remember that you only get one body your whole life.
The body is all connected, and the little dings start to add up.
Injuries Add Up
Most athletes only see a purpose for scaling back when they suffer major injuries like broken bones or torn tendons, muscles or ligaments. Every other injury needs to be fought through, they think. This logic only makes sense when you don't have a full understanding of how the body works.
The body is all connected, and the little dings start to add up. When you see a football player receive a non-contact ACL injury, you can bet your bottom dollar that previous indications showed that this could happen. Think of it like a light bulb. It does not just blow out randomly; it gives plenty of signs that it has reached the end of the road -- it flickers, buzzes and pops. Injuries are just like light bulbs ready to die. They are often the result of smaller injuries and pains that get ignored.
Early is Always Better
It is better to attack an injury sooner than later. The earlier you detect cancer, the easier it is for a doctor to help. With injuries, this is also true. Don't wait for trauma to start taking action.
When you pay attention to your body more, it means you will start recognizing and treating your injuries as early as possible. Don't wait to go and get a full body massage when your whole body hurts. Be proactive and get one before a tough workout that will make your whole body hurt. It is a shift in mindset.
Others Have No Problem Abusing You
Coaches abusing athletes happens at all levels of sports. Athletes will blindly walk into a wall for coaches, even play through broken bones or multiple concussions. They graduate and look back and realize that their coaches cared more about their jobs than their body.
I remember in college speaking with one football player who put his body on the line for three years for the school. He graduated and his career was over, but his pain was far from over. Did the school take care of him? Of course not, because he was not on the team anymore, he was no longer able to help them win games. He was on his own to fix a body he laid on the line for them.
Knowledge Improves Decision Making
The more mindful you become of taking care of your body, the better you can take care of it because you learn more about it. When you are young, you don't feel the need to learn about your body because it always works.
The more injuries you stack up, the more important it becomes that you learn because then you don't have to make choices about your body based off what other people tell you.
After I had three hamstring pulls and two fractures of my L5, I realized that I needed to go out and seek knowledge. In the search for knowledge, I figured out exactly what I needed to do to be successful. At this point, I stopped just hearing and I started learning.
In the same way that I won't just listen to one person on what I should do with my money, because they could be totally wrong, I seek multiple opinions. My body is even more important than money, so I can't just take another person's word for it.
One of the best things about FIXT is the fact that you can get second opinions on injuries. It allows athletes to have their injuries solutions processed by many brilliant minds. If you have four or five people all saying the exact thing, it is a good sign. The app can help you figure out who to trust!
You Can't Be Great If You're Always Injured
I was watching NFL linebacker Derrick Brooks' Hall of Fame speech the other day. The one thing that stood out to me is that he never missed one game his entire career. That is insane. To play in the NFL and never miss a game after many seasons.
In contrast, I remember growing up watching Ken Griffey Jr. This guy was a monster baseball player. The only the problem is that he could never stay healthy. You can't succeed as an athlete if you are always hurt.
Part of being great is being healthy enough to get the stats and accolades required for greatness. The earlier you start taking care of your body the better because you will get older and your body will hurt more. When it does, you will be ready.
There is a reason that many NFL players come into the league and they don't care about nutrition, or stretching, or doing anything to stay healthy. By the end of their careers, they are doing pilates, yoga, eating healthy; they have structured weight-lifting regimens all designed to help them last another season. It makes many of them wonder how good they could have been if they would have started earlier.
You only get one body, so take care of it!
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook
Also on HuffPost:
“Muscle pulls and strains are what I see the most,” McLean says. The most common causes of hamstring strains are strength imbalances and improper form. Runners are especially susceptible when they run their fastest. The quicker you go, the more pressure you put on the hamstrings because you extend your stride. This kind of injury takes at least four weeks to heal. It can often be longer because we walk every day, putting more pressure on the muscles. The best way to avoid the injury is through strength training. Standing deadlifts are recommended. Photo Credit: Shutterstock Click Here to See Most Common Fitness Injuries
“Shin splints happen over a long period of time,” McLean says.Strength imbalances and differences between the amount of stress on the back and front of the leg are the usual causes. “Incorrect mechanics are a big reason.” One example is the popular box jumps – people are supposed to land quietly on the ball of their toes because the impact is then spread evenly. “When the body doesn’t absorb force correctly, it hurts,” McLean says. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
“Lower back pain is very common,” McLean says, and it can be caused by numerous factors. The most common one is improper form during weightlifting. “I like to always start off with core stability exercises incorporated in warmups,” he says. Proper posture is crucial to preventing back injuries. “Planks are very useful.” Such spinal mobility drills have to be included in every workout. Photo Credit: Shutterstock Click Here to See Most Common Fitness Injuries
Misalignment in you back will hurt your neck. Rounded shoulders and arched neck will only intensify the pain. Unfortunately, this is the position most people are in when they are at work – sitting down staring at a monitor with crunched back. That poor posture accompanies you to the gym, and a lack of mobility puts extra pressure on the lower back and neck. That’s why some doctors never do exercises that require you to sit down. “You’re only applying the same pressure on your body” and the idea is to move around and as much as you can,” according to Chris Leib, a doctor of physical therapy at Movement Professional. Photo Credit: Thinkstock
Repeated pressure on the foot can lead to inflammation of the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. It feels tight and inflexible. You may be at risk if your training program involves a lot of running and sprinting. It’s crucial to pick the right kind of workout shoes if this is the case, and insoles if necessary. Your feet need enough support to absorb the pressure. Click Here to See Most Common Fitness Injuries Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Follow Ian Warner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ianwarner310