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Athletes Lifestyle

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In the following essay, I will describe the five lifestyle factors that can affect an athlete. I will then go on to analyse each of the factors and how they affect an athlete’s lifestyle. The lifestyle factors that I will be talking about include the following: Sleep

Physical Activity

As human beings we all need sleep in our lifestyle. Sleep is our recovery period; it gives us the opportunity to rest from physical activity and repairs our brains mentally for the next day. Most sports that athletes take part in are physically demanding. Therefore, it is important that we have more sleep than the average person; this gives us more time to recover from our sport. 16-19 year old athletes are advised to have at least 9 hours of sleep per night. Doing this consistently will maximise their sporting performance, moreover it is very important that 16-19 year olds have their recommended amount of sleep since some athletes won’t have reached their physical peak, therefore getting enough sleep gives them maximum opportunity for their muscles to grow making you bigger and stronger. If you have the correct amount of sleep:

Positive thought processes – Having a rested mind allows positive thoughts to come about much more easily and frequently, therefore when you are encouraged by your coach or captain you will be more motivated to perform at your best. Improved memory – If you play the same team twice in a season and you have been instructed to man mark their best player by your coach and you know how he plays, this gives you an increased chance to counter his attacking plays during the match. Muscle tissue is repaired – When you train hard an athlete needs to give their muscles time to recover so they can grow bigger and stronger, the more sleep the better. If they don’t give their muscles time to recover then there is a greater risk of causing injury.

If you don’t have the correct amount of sleep:

Poorer reactions – If two different teenage footballers of a similar ability had a club match scheduled for the next day and one had their recommended 9 hours of sleep and one had about 3 hours sleep the effects would be noticeable on the pitch. The one who has more sleep will be able to react and anticipate situations quicker than the other. These factors will be noticed by your coaches and your manager which may have an impact on your first team place. Negative thought processes – If you wake up knowing that you haven’t had enough sleep this doesn’t put you in a good mental state of mind. This will take effect in a match, for example if you was to misplace a pass or lose the ball in a danger area this could easily put you in a negative mind set for the remainder of the match Lack of memory – It will be harder to remember what your oppositions strongest play style is if you suffer from a lack of sleep. In addition, it will be hard to counter your opposition even if you did remember their play style due to a lack of energy.

To conclude, if you compare the positives and the negatives it is clear that having a good amount of sleep can only improve your physical and mental performance in sport. On the other hand, if you don’t have a good amount of sleep you suffer physically and mentally which will cause your performance to drop.


To be stressed is the state of psychological and physiological tension, every athlete experiences some sort of stress at some point in their sporting career.

Athletes are involved in very competitive competition, for example in Tennis the top individual athletes for men and women compete against each other in tournaments, a good example of a tournament where you see this happen in Tennis is at Wimbledon.

The best tennis players from all over the world come together and all play against each other, however only one person prevails and comes out as champion for that year. You can see why this can create stressful situations for performers; this is because everyone has their mind set on winning.

When you are stressed there can be positive effects (Eustress) Testing your capabilities to the limit – In Tennis if you make it to the final of a tournament your opponent is going to be challenging, hence to why you are testing your limits. Stress levels are going to be high so the athlete will be fully focused and wanting to perform at their highest level which will affect them positively if they want to win the match. Win at all costs attitude – Some athletes specifically stress over the fact that losing isn’t an option and that they must win at all costs. This will cause athletes to have an increase in adrenaline, this is a somatic symptom of stress that can affect your performance positively and usually shows when you have such a great passion for winning and the sport itself. Audience – Athletes of all ages have their families, friends and fans that come to watch them play sport, some more frequent than others, supporters always want to see their athletes perform well in front of them this brings good morale to some competitors.

When you are stressed there can be negative effects (Distress) Worry – If a footballer goes up to take a penalty in football and they are put in the situation of taking the deciding penalty he is going to worried, this is a cognitive symptom of stress and can affect a footballers performance negatively. The penalty taker could be thinking about what their manager and teammates will think of him if he misses when really he should be focusing on what side of the net he would like to put the ball in. Negative self-talk – When people make mistakes in sport people start to doubt themselves and say phrases like “I can’t” this means that they think they can’t do it so they start to believe it and it becomes true.

Poor breathing control – If a long distance runner begins to pull away from the pack to early from the end of the race and uses his energy this will increase a runners respiration through the lungs, this is a somatic response to stress as a consequence the runner will lose the race because he wouldn’t have any energy reserves left. In conclusion I think that stress is more likely to decrease your performance that improve your performance because from personal experience I feel better playing sport when im nice and relaxed under no stress feeling warmed up and ready to play.

Alcohol is widely consumed by people all over the world, some people drink it a lot, some people drink it in moderation and some people choose to not drink it at all. It is recommended that Athletes don’t drink alcohol because it’s not an essential part of their diet. If you do consume any alcohol:

Rewarding – Some athletes do enjoy an alcoholic drink after working hard on the track; some may say it acts as a reward for all that training they have done. Socialising – Alcohol consumption is seen as a way of having fun, by drinking alcohol you get the opportunity to socialise with other performers and teammates outside of the sport you play. Relaxing – All human beings need to have time to chill out and relax, if you had to go out and play football when it’s cold and muddy it would be easy to turn to alcohol afterwards because it acts as a comfort blanket. Poor Performance – Alcohol doesn’t allow your body to repair its muscles, this leaves you feeling hydrated which will have an impact on your sporting performance. If you do not consume any alcohol:

No weight gain – Alcohol contains a lot of calories in it, Athletes need to be in their best shape possible in order to maximise their sporting performance so they don’t want to store any unneeded fats in their bodies. Makes exercising the next day easier – Consuming alcohol the night before has a negative influence on your performance the next day. There is no chance of an Athlete being able to perform at their best if they have a hangover to deal with. Muscle growth isn’t affected – When you train your muscles hard they repair and grow stronger overnight, however alcohol disrupts your sleeping pattern this will take an effect on your hormone growth which is very important for growing your muscles.

To conclude, alcohol is detrimental to sports performance because of its effects on the body during exercise. If you choose to not have a balanced approach to drinking alcohol it could be what stops you from getting the results you deserve in sport. No matter how hard you train, if you are consuming alcohol it will always have an impact on your sporting performance.

Physical Activity
All human beings take part in some physical activity, some more than others. It gives us the opportunity to get ourselves looking and feeling in better shape. Sportsman are either always training or always playing a match, this means they are more physically involved and are in better shape than people with normal jobs. If you are doing physical activity regularly the benefits are: Stronger muscles – By going to the gym and lifting heavy weight makes your muscles stronger. This benefits you because the stronger you are the easier it is to lift weight Stronger bones and joints – Long distance runners have strong bones especially in their legs because they are always active, this keeps their joints moving and strengthens their bones Stress release – Taking time out to exercise can be seen as a stress release, this can be a better way of relaxing instead of drinking alcohol

Negatives on taking part in physical activity regularly are: Overtraining – An example of where you would be overtraining is making a commitment to go to the gym every day of the week, if you continued to do this you may cause yourself an injury because you aren’t giving your muscles enough time to recover. Weaker joints (long term) – Long distance running on hard concrete floor everyday won’t do your joints any good in the long term.

Overall, there is no doubt that physical activity will only improve your sporting performance physically as well as mentally. A lack of physical activity will show as your body gets older as your metabolism begins to slow down. Smoking

Many human beings have smoking in their lifestyle; some people argue that it makes them feel relaxed after a hard day at work or when they are undergoing a stressful time. When athletes are involved in sport which is intense, they need as much air in their lungs as possible. It is recommended that Athletes don’t smoke because it lowers their endurance level, makes them weaker, makes it harder to compete with their competitors and finally you are more likely to obtain an injury. A few reasons to why people think smoking benefits you include: Socialising – People tend to smoke in groups, naturally you will socialise with each other whilst smoking. Relaxing – All athletes are told not to smoke by their coaches, however some athletes feel the need to because it relaxes them and their mind this may help them when it comes to playing a match. Reasons to why smoking doesn’t benefit you include:

Reduces endurance levels – Your stamina will decrease, this will have an noticeable effect on your sporting performance. Puts more pressure on the heart: If athletes started smoking, their oxygen intake would reduce. This means that your heart has to work at a harder rate to give you the oxygen you need otherwise you can’t compete. Restricts the airways leading to a shortness of breath: cigarette smoke can narrow the airways to the lungs which impairs your breathing. This leads to a shortness of breath.

To conclude, it is clear that the negative effects outweigh the positive effects of smoking. If you smoke then you will not be as fast, fit or strong as your non-smoking competitors. For example if a sprinter was smoking and these reasons weren’t justified enough for the athlete to stop smoking then they might as well quit competing because they won’t be winning any races the only change in their performance would be a drop.

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