As discussed in earlier articles asymmetrical training affects the body in a number of ways including:
· Poor Posture
· Blocked Nerves
· Diminished Blood Flow
· Reduced Agility
· Compromised Endurance
· Decrease Speed
· Increase in injuries; aches-strains-sprains-pain-torn ligaments, joint pain, muscle pain
· Weakened Immune system
This article examines blood flow, hydration and how this affects the athletes’ performance. Athletic performance depends on numerous factors and one of the key factors is the amount of blood flowing and reaching the muscle tissues.
Blood flow can be affected by:
· Pinched Nerve
· Training Methods
A pinched nerve can affect blood flow to certain parts of the body, the parts of the body affected depends on the location and severity of the pinched nerve. Consequences from a compressed nerve and diminished blood flow can range from mild to severe, and even to a possible career ending event.
While training the blood flow into the muscles increases to accommodate the needs of the muscles. As discussed in an earlier article, asymmetrical training trains the same muscles over and over. Consequently the blood “learns” to flow towards the muscles you are always working. Those muscles demand more blood and as a result the blood flow to the secondary muscles is reduced. This leads to greater lopsided training and an increased risk for injury.
A lower amount of blood reaching the secondary muscles can affect performance. As little as a 2% decrease in blood flow can influence the following characteristics during training and athletic performance and increase the athletes’ chance of injury. (HumanKinetics.com)
· Duration and intensity at which the athlete performs can be lowered
· The amount of nutrients and oxygen reaching the muscles and organs
· Muscle weakness
· Loss of ability to focus
Hydration when training as an athlete has direct correlation to performance.
Hydration affects the flow of blood to the muscles and organs of the body. Aerobic power can be reduced by as much as 5% when a persons' hydration level is reduced by 3% of their body weight. Training in a large number of US States tends to go through the spring and summer months and training in the heat puts extreme stress on the body. (humankinetics.com)
For example, take a person that weighs 150 lbs; the amount of water loss during physical activity at 3% of their body weight is 4.5 pounds. This can easily occur during practice, especially considering that the average person sweats between 4 to 9 cups of water daily with little to no exercise. Due to even a small loss of water and minerals blood viscosity increases causing slower blood flow that reduces the oxygen and nutrients delivered to the muscles and organs.
Dehydration occurs when bodily fluid loss exceeds fluid intake. This can be life threatening to athletes.
· Increased thirst
· Dry mouth and possible swollen tongue
· Heart Palpitations (feeling that your heart is jumping or pounding)
· Inability to focus
· Inability to sweat
· Decreased urine output
Over-hydrating - Hyponatremia occurs when you drink too much water.
• Hyponatremia is a condition that occurs when the level of sodium in your blood is abnormally low. Sodium is an electrolyte, and it helps regulate the amount of water that's in and around your cells.
• In hyponatremia, one or more factors — ranging from an underlying medical condition to drinking too much water during endurance sports — causes the sodium in your body to become diluted. When this happens, your body's water levels rise, and your cells begin to swell. This swelling can cause many health problems, from mild to life-threatening.
Hyponatremia signs and symptoms may include:
· Nausea and vomiting
· Loss of energy and fatigue
· Restlessness and irritability
· Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
Whether training in the gym and on the field, blood flow and hydration will always be a significant issue. If you over-hydrated or under- hydrated you’re walking a fine line. Each condition can be life threatening.
A NEW TECHNOLOGY IN ATHLETIC TRAINING IS CHANGING THE WAY WE TRAIN. Water Works! This program works in combination with current training methods allowing the muscles to relax while they are being worked.
The reduced gravity of your body and the hydrostatic pressure of water pushing equally on all body surfaces assist your heart to work more efficiently assisting blood circulation. The cool environment keeps your core temperature down reducing dehydration and over-hydration concerns of the athlete.
Reduction of Injuries
Increased Playing Time
Improved Body Symmetry
The next article will address types of hydration and the hazardous effects some of them can have on your athletic career and your health.