GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- When it comes to taking care of our bodies, the obvious age-old principles are often overlooked.
It’s the basic tenets of health and fitness that allow professional athletes to train effectively and play at the top of their game.
As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, with Bon Secours St. Francis health, 7 News Taylor Murray spoke with a Greenville Swamp Rabbits hockey player, as well as the team doctor, about the top healthy habits of professional athletes and how you can incorporate them into your lifestyle.
In-season or off-season, for a professional athlete, taking care of the body is a year-round job.
“We’re taking care of our bodies 12 months a year.”Karch Bachman, Forward- Greenville Swamp Rabbits Hockey Team
For Karch Bachman, a forward with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits Hockey Team, practicing healthy habits when it comes to diet, exercise, and lifestyle is key to improving athletic performance.
“We have to take care of our bodies every day,” Bachman said.
Professional athletes burn a lot of calories during training and on game day. When it’s time to re-fuel Bachman says what he puts into his body is critical.
“That’s how we operate at the highest level is putting the right ingredients in our bodies. For me, I eat healthy, fresh, and try to buy my groceries day of,” Bachman said.
The team doctor and family medicine physician, Dr. Nathan Gasque, says most players have a diet rich in lean protein and complex carbohydrates. They also nourish their bodies with fruits and vegetables. He recommends a balance.
“Vegetables are always a good idea. Again, it depends on your diet, but if half of your plate is vegetables usually you are doing okay.”Dr. Nathan Gasque, Family Medicine Physician, Bon Secours St. Francis Health
Even after the season ends, pro-athletes continue to work out.
“It’s part of my job. It is my job, so, on a daily basis we’re either lifting, skating, conditioning, riding bikes,” Bachman said.
It’s also important to take time for recovery.
“You see us out here on the ice, running into each other and trying to put the puck in the net, but there’s so much behind the scenes that goes into that. Whether it be hydration or quality sleep,” Bachman said.
Incorporating healthy habits into your lifestyle, like getting a full night’s sleep and maintaining good mental health, will help you to stay at the top of your game.
“Having healthy sleeping habits is also very important. This means staying away from your phone at night, making sure you are not drinking a lot of caffeine, or working out at 11 pm. All of these can go a long way,” Dr. Gasque said.
Dr. Gasque says preventative care is important to minimize injuries on the team. By regularly checking in with your doctor, you can detect and prevent serious diseases and medical problems before they become major.