Many athletes understand the importance of training to improve performance, but few recognize how crucial proper nutrition and adequate sleep are for preventing injury, optimizing athletic performance, and improving overall health.
Studies have shown that a high proportion of adolescent athletes have a subpar diet and additionally are sleep deprived. In fact a recent study showed that during the fall semester of school, 20% of adolescent athletes didn’t consume enough fruit, while 39% were were not consuming enough vegetables. Athletes reaching the recommended amount of fruits, vegetables and protein, were 64% less likely to get injured (1). Sleep goes hand in hand with nutrition. Lack of sleep coupled with poor nutrition prevents the body from fully recovering. The athletes studied that received more than 8 hours of sleep a night reduced their odds of injury by 61%.
Not only is adequate intakes of fruits and vegetables important for reducing risk of injury, but consuming the right mix of carbohydrates, protein and fats is key to athletic performance. Adolescent boys and girls utilize macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats) differently. Thus, having a personalized nutrition plan with the right macronutrient that is gender tailored can enhance athletic performance and overall health (2).
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Rosen, P., Frohm, A., Kottorp, A., Friden, C., & Heijne, A. (2016). Too little sleep and an unhealthy diet could increase the risk of sustaining a new injury in adolescent elite athletes. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports.
Devries, M. C. (2016). Sex‐based differences in endurance exercise muscle metabolism: impact on exercise and nutritional strategies to optimize health and performance in women. Experimental physiology, 101(2), 243-249.