eight of the easiest ways to improve athletic performance
Sports / Orthopedic

Eight of the Easiest Ways to Improve Athletic Performance

Jan 23 2019

The best part? They’re all natural

It doesn’t have to be New Year’s Day to resolve to be healthier. Everyone wants to have more energy, experience less pain, feel stronger and have a sharper mind. To get there, it’s a two-part process. First, you need to know what healthy habits to bring into your day. Next, you have to commit to them and make them part of your life. Ready to be your best you? Try these natural ways to improve your performance.

Drinking more water

You’ve probably heard that you’re mostly water, right? Well, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need more. Your body uses water for almost every bodily function. Drinking water helps your body do a better job of digesting food and removing waste from your system. Water helps protect your tissues, spinal cord and joints from injury. It keeps your body temperature regulated. Staying hydrated simply makes you feel better.

The amount of water you should drink varies greatly on your climate, how much you exercise and if you’re feeling under the weather. Instead of counting the number of glasses you down a day, just look at your urine. If it’s clear, you’re probably drinking enough. If it’s a little dark, start sipping.

Eating better

If you listen to your body, you know that eating junk food, enjoying too many sweets and drinking too much alcohol doesn’t make you feel very good. A simple and effective way to improve your performance is to improve your nutrition. Eating better can help you maintain your weight at a healthy level. This can reduce your risk of chronic disease.

So, what does eating better look like? A good start is to add more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. Eat less of anything that comes out of a bag or a box. Processed foods usually contain added sugar and too much sodium. Cutting out sugary drinks and refined grains is also a good goal.

Mixing up your workout routine

You’re exercising already, aren’t you? The International Sports Sciences Association recommends at least five to seven hours of cardio every week for overall health. However, your body can easily get used to the same old movements.

By switching up your routine, you can avoid what’s known as “adaptation.” This stops your body’s muscles from growing. Adding in strength training, core training and agility to your cardio provides a full range of fitness to your body. You also won’t get so bored!

Ice baths for recovery

If you really want to improve your performance, you should act like the athletes and hop in a bath filled with ice. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Professionals use cold therapy to repair their muscles after an intense workout. Ice baths make your blood vessels send oxygen to your muscles. This removes the lactic acid that would otherwise build up and make you exhausted.

How long do you have to shiver? Once you pour in a few bags of ice into your bath, start by sitting up to your hips. Eventually, you can lower your upper torso in. Try to stay there for 10 minutes. If that’s too much, massaging ice over muscles works, too.

Epsom salts

If you haven’t discovered the benefits of Epsom salts yet, now’s the time. Also known as magnesium sulfate, it’s quite different from the salt you find on the dinner table. Some people use Epsom salts to relieve constipation and insomnia. Epsom salts help replenish certain minerals in your body. They’re a great addition to a warm bath, too.

Heat therapy

If you’re experiencing lower back pain, heat therapy can improve your performance and make you feel better. Heat therapy works to relax the muscles and soft tissues from around your spine. It increases circulation and calms the pain sensors to your brain. To find the benefits of heat, try using a hot water bottle where it hurts for 20 to 30 minutes. Electric heating pads, heated gel packs and heat wraps are good, too. 


Many people add yoga into their daily routines because it helps bring peace of mind. If you feel uncomfortable going to a class, simply start stretching. Stretching can help increase your flexibility and range of motion while reducing your risk of injury. It improves your posture and even helps with stress release. Try a mix of dynamic stretching — active movement that helps prepare your muscles for exercise — and static stretches, where you hold a stretch for 10 to 30 seconds.


Finally, don’t forget to rest. Getting adequate sleep helps you stay healthy and improves your mental health, too.

Mercy Health Orthopedic Surgeon and Head Team Physician for the Cincinnati Bengals, Dr. Marc Galloway stresses the importance of rest to all of the athletes he sees – from high school students to the pros. “Rest is a key element of an athlete’s training regimen. Injuries tend to occur when athletes are tired and the body is over-worked. It is imperative that athletes give their bodies time to heal with proper rest.”

Of course, if you still have physical or mental pain, you should see a medical professional. If you need help finding care, our team is here for you. Reach out today.

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