By Gina Pongetti Angeletti, MPT
Here are 10 ways that you can fine-tune your body to not just survive the new school year, training and impending season… but THRIVE!
Photos from Rio Arena by Ricardo Bufolin for inside Gymnastics magazine.
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August is just around the corner, which means over half of 2017 has come and gone! Here are 10 ways that you can fine-tune your body to not just survive the new school year, training and impending season… but THRIVE!

1. Water!

We should be drinking at least ½ our body weight in ounces just to live! Example, if you weigh 100 pounds, drinking at least 50 ounces is great. Add ONE glass of water each day in the morning as soon as you wake up. Water helps with decreasing fatigue, nourishing your body and flushing your system during recovery!

2. Sleep.

Studies have shown that your body is stimulated by the light of electronic devices. It takes a while for you to relax after stopping interaction with your computer and/or cell phone. Put down the electronics at least ONE hour before bed, and you’re guaranteed to see a difference in your quality of sleep and alertness the next day!

3. Nutrition.

It can be hard with schedules to always eat right. Natural, non-canned, non pre-prepared foods contain more nutrients and vitamins. Every meal, eat at least ONE fruit or vegetable. Spend time at night anticipating needs for the following day, so that fast food stops can be avoided!

4. Posture.

It is so very important in our daily lives. Every hour, for at least ONE minute, focus on your shoulders, back and head position. You will be amazed at how much your body will start to do these self checks automatically!

5. Stretching!

Let’s focus on a body part a day, ONE minute each day, ONE stretch, and we will have a more well-rounded routine before no time! Here is a start: Monday: Quads, Tuesday: Hamstrings, Wednesday: Calves, Thursday: Spine/Arch, Friday: Wrists, Saturday: Groin, Sunday: Glutes. Let’s go!

6. Jumping.

What athlete ever says, “I jump high enough, I don’t need to really work on it!” None! So, spend ONE minute each day, or a few days a week, doing jump training. Some examples? Squat hold for ONE minute then stretch jumps for ONE minute as many as you can, properly, until you are exhausted!

7. Breathing.

As nerves take hold in competition, and stress increases during practice, gymnasts get tense in their shoulders and neck and breathe shallow. We get very caught up in focusing on smiling, performing, remembering routines, activating muscles and so much more. For at least ONE minute a day focus on your breathing. Think about your ribs opening, your stomach/diaphragm expanding to let air in, breathing in through your nose. Then, think about when you breathe out, controlling, relaxing your shoulders, letting your ribs sink down and releasing tension in your muscles from head to toe.

8. Rolling.

There is little that is more important in the longevity of a sport than rolling out sore or used muscles to help them recover. Spend a few days a week (start with one, progressing to five) with a roller for ONE minute. Pick your calves, your IT bands, or quads.

9. Spine.

One of the most important set of joints in the human body that every performer, artist and athlete needs is a healthy spine. So, ONE extra minute, each day, performing one arching stretch (cobras, back bends, bridging, partner stretching, etc.) will help you to avoid painful back injuries!

10. Shoes!

Your feet are the base of your body! They set up the position that your knees will be in and help determine the stability of your ankles. They rely on the strength of your glutes to help them be positioned right. Barefoot sport athletes need to rely on muscles to position feet properly. Avoid loose fitting slip-on shoes and Uggs and instead choose supportive gym shoes or boots that are fitted and protect your arch.

This article was previously featured in the December 2016 issue of inside Gymnastics.

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