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Springing Into Better Athletic Performance

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Springing Into Better Athletic Performance

Tips for Improving Your Athletic Performance this Spring

With springtime in full swing, what better time to dedicate yourself to improving your athletic performance? We're here to share some tips to help you to meet your goals this season.

Focus on Each Component of Fitness

As you embark on building a well-rounded fitness routine, it’s common for people to only focus on the skills that directly affect their performance in their desired sport. However, it’s essential that you focus on each major component of fitness in your workout routine.

By dedicating time to each of these areas of your physical fitness, you not only improve your athletic performance in your activity but you also effectively reduce your risk of sustaining an injury.

Building Muscle Strength

When it comes to working out, most people focus primarily on building muscle through strength training. As the name implies, lifting weights and resistance training helps you to become stronger, but it also helps to improve your physical fitness in the following ways:

  • Builds supportive muscles that protect bones and joints
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Improves posture
  • Improves coordination

Cardiovascular Endurance

According to the American Heart Association, the average American adult should aim to work in at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) or moderate-intensity aerobic activity into their weekly routine. To increase the cardiovascular benefits you reap from your workout, aim for 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.

When it comes to improving your athletic performance, aerobic training can yield the following benefits:

  • Improves lung capacity
  • Improves circulation
  • Improves the amount of blood pumped with each heartbeat
  • Allows your cells to better produce energy

Along with running, other exercises that can help to build cardiovascular endurance include:

  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Bike riding
  • Playing soccer
  • Brisk walking
  • Water aerobics
  • Dancing
  • In-line skating
  • Rollerblading
  • Kickboxing
  • Jumping rope
  • Burpees
  • Bear crawls
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Racquetball
  • Climbing stairs

Flexibility Training

When it comes to working out and improving athletic performance, flexibility training is one of the most commonly neglected areas of overall fitness. Some of the benefits of flexibility training include:

  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Fewer aches and pains after exercise
  • Increased range-of-motion
  • Improves posture
  • Improves coordination
  • Helps to improve core strength and stability
  • Relieves and prevents muscle cramping
  • Improves circulation

Some excellent stretches to add to your workout routine include:

  • Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch
  • Forward Lunges
  • Seated Straddle Stretch
  • Jumping jacks
  • Superman stretch
  • Pigeon pose
  • Standing quad stretch
  • Bridge pose
  • Lunge walk
  • Butt Kicks
  • Walk knee-to-chest

By stretching 3-5 times a week, you can effectively bolster your overall fitness and your athletic ability.

Don’t Do Too Much Too Soon

Although you may be excited to jumpstart your fitness routine on day one, it’s imperative that you pace yourself when starting or returning to physical activity. Even if you’re an experienced athlete who knows how much their body can take when in peak condition, you still need to gradually work your way back up to where you were previously.

This is because working out too often or at too high of an intensity can result in overuse injuries like sprains, strains, and stress fractures. When starting out your fitness journey, be sure to start out with short workouts at a lower intensity, increasing both each week. After getting used to working out regularly, you can shift your focus to improving your performance.

Incorporate Rest Days

While many people think taking days off from the gym are for the faint-hearted, this couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, incorporating rest days into your weekly fitness routine is essential when it comes to improving your athletic performance and preventing injuries.


Taking a day off from training doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to lay around either. In fact, there are activities that you can do to make the most of your rest day and continue to support your physical health. On your next off day:

  • Take a hot shower or bath
  • Use a foam roller on sore muscles
  • Stretch or do yoga
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Take a walk or hike
  • Go for a swim

Set aside at least one day each week where you can allow your body to effectively rest and recover.

Stay Adequately Hydrated

Whether you’re playing in a game or just working out to stay fit, it is essential to your athletic performance that you stay properly hydrated. This means drinking enough water throughout your day as well as right before, during, and after exercising.

Some of the many benefits of drinking enough water include:

  • Improve brain function and decision-making skills
  • Improves energy levels
  • Improves physical performance
  • Prevents headaches
  • Prevents and alleviates muscle cramps
  • Prevents injuries
  • Supports muscle and joint function

According to The American Council on Exercise, you should follow these recommendations to stay properly hydrated:

  • Before working out: Drink 17-20 oz of water about 2-3 hours before exercise.
  • During your workout: Drink 7-10 oz of water every 15 minutes during exercise.
  • After your workout: Drink 8 oz of water 30 minutes after your workout.

If you have specific musculoskeletal health concerns that get in the way of meeting your fitness goals, it’s important that you speak with an orthopedic specialist. They will work with you to develop a treatment plan unique to your body, needs, and goals.

Orthopedic Care in Fox Valley

At Fox Valley Orthopedics, we can help you get back to a pain-free, comfortable life. If you have been dealing with aches and pains that have lasted for more than a week, don’t put off getting help another day. Call (630) 584-1400 today to schedule your appointment.