4 Ways to Optimize Athletic Performance
On a daily basis, we grow smarter and more thoughtful in how we coexist within our bodies. A simple oral vitamin or topical cream to improve our well-being are no longer best practices. There is more. Much more. The focus has shifted: how can we best utilize and support our complex body systems to best optimize our physical performance? This is especially relevant for athletes: they rely on speedy recovery and maintenance for their resilient body mechanisms. Below you will find several ways to positively support natural functions and regeneration for your body, all of which aid in healing, recovery, and increased vitamin absorption.
Increase Your Cell Function With O2
Our cells need oxygen to carry out natural body functions including recovery and regeneration; however, the air we breathe is not efficient. Our atmospheric air holds 21% oxygen. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) solves this. HBOT is an immersive experience where patients breathe pure oxygen at a higher pressure, usually 2 to 3 times higher than the pressure at sea level. This high pressure allows the oxygen to dissolve in key bodily fluids such as plasma, cerebrospinal fluid, and the lymphatic fluid. Passing oxygen directly into these fluids provides easier transport of oxygen throughout the body, even to areas with poor blood flow. Up to 15 times the normal amount of oxygen can be delivered to tissues, causing new blood vessels to grow, change blood flow dynamics, and even decreased inflammation. To an athlete, this can greatly decrease recovery time, required physical therapy, and minimize wear and tear on the body.
Strengthen Your Mind, Strengthen Your Body
We often underestimate the power of the mind and emotions and their capacity to influence physical health. Mind-body medicine harnesses our mind and emotions to focus on our bodies without distraction; to attain “focused concentration”. Such focus can be helpful for many physical conditions because it encourages relaxation, reduces tension and pain, lessens the need for medication, and increases resiliency, all of which is crucial to a performing athlete.
Some common mind-body techniques include:
• Theta Technology: This form of neurofeedback utilizes light, sound, and motion to rebuild brain pathways. This technology can assist not only with substance addiction management but also relaxation while improving and restoring brain function.
• Cognitive Therapies: People are taught to recognize and change harmful thoughts. Although this technique focuses on emotions, studies have shown a link between increased depression and increased inflammation.
• Bodywork: These include osteopathic techniques, which use hands to diagnose and treat injury and trauma; craniosacral therapy, which focuses on releasing compression in areas to alleviate stress and pain. Further relaxation techniques include autogenic training, which involves visual imagery and body awareness to create a deep state of relaxation; and progressive muscle relaxation, which involves slowly tensing then releasing each muscle group in your body.
Mind-body medicine does not prove that your attitude or your mind is the cause of your illness or condition, it merely is a tool to help enhance performance and willpower while providing supplemental support to recovery and health.
Using Light to Promote Your Cell Regeneration
Light can be used as a form of laser therapy by exiting existing cells and encouraging growth. Using a light source placed near or in contact with the skin, photons (light energy) are able to penetrate tissue and interact with chromophores in cells thereby causing photophysical and photochemical changes. These changes lead to modifications in the body on a molecular and cellular level. This is known as Photobiomodulation (PBMT). PBMT accelerates wound healing and tissue regeneration, promotes increased circulation, reduces inflammation and chronic pain, and helps to restore normal cellular functions. Such laser therapeutic treatment is not limited to damaged and diseased tissues and cells. PBMT has been shown to enhance physical performance in normal tissues thereby bringing great benefit to athletes in training. Elite athletes are able to use PBMT to warm up and, when needed, cut down rehabilitation time when PBMT is a part of treatment plans.
IV Therapy With Vitamins, Minerals and Amino Acids.
IV therapy provides efficiency in vitamin and mineral absorption, something many athletes currently struggle to balance. Often the body cannot adequately absorb nutrients into the body, often leaving oral tablets useless. You cannot experience the results you want without the ability to absorb the nutrients. To combat this, many try taking larger doses of supplements, which can cause other problems such as diarrhea. This is often seen in high doses of magnesium and Vitamin C. Intravenous vitamins and minerals do not have this effect. Through an IV, higher doses can be delivered through direct access rather than the oral route (tablets, capsules, or liquids) without such adverse reactions and without risk of losing performance benefits due to malabsorption.
Nutrient therapy works in various ways:
• Protecting cells from damage
• Decreasing inflammation
• Correcting nutritional and biochemical deficiencies
• Improving the function of cells and the immune system
Side effects felt during IV therapy may include irritation of the vein, lowering of blood pressure, lowering blood sugar, headaches, muscle cramps or weakness, arm pain at infusion site, dizziness, and lightheadedness. Such side effects are rare and tend to dissolve following repeat nutrient therapy sessions. Overall the improvements seen outweighs any adverse effects: better energy, better mental clarity, improved sleep, overall generalized improvement of complaints, and feelings of well-being.
We consistently look for ways to better utilize and support our complex body systems to optimize physical performance and nutrient absorption. Learning and adopting these various techniques grants us the opportunity to become better, stronger, faster, and more resilient athletes in the modern world. Become a better you, today.