Paralympians and Olympians, who depend on their bodies to perform at the highest level, can bet that their self-care routines have proven successful.
Self-care refers to taking steps to ensure your health and well-being. Self-care is defined as all things that you do to maintain your physical and emotional health.
It’s not about optimizing your physical performance when it comes to Paralympians and Olympians’ self-care routines. It’s also a mental game. According to a systematic analysis published in February 2016 by the American Journal of Sports Medicine, evidence suggests that elite athletes are more susceptible to stressors. This can make them more vulnerable to mental health problems such as injury, burnout, and public scrutiny. Many top athletes have spoken out about how important it is to prioritize their mental health for performance, including Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka.
What can we learn from the athletes? Here are eight top athletes competing in the Winter Paralympic and Olympic Games:
1. Ashley CainGribble, Pairs Figure Skater: Mindfulness and Deep-Stretch Session
The American pairs figure skater Ashley CainGribble says, “I make it a point to take 10 minutes of meditation every morning to check in with myself and see how things are feeling.” She also makes sure to take 30 minutes every night to stretch out before she goes to bed, to help her body relax after a long day of training.
Dr. Masterson, a self-care expert, says mindfulness can have a tremendous impact on both your mental and physical health. “Keeping our minds in the present and not judging or voicing opinions about stressful situations can help us improve our mood and relieve chronic pain,” Dr. Masterson said. A review in June 2017 Annals of New York Academy of Sciences found that mindfulness meditation uses multiple brain mechanisms to reduce pain.
2. Alpine Skier Mikaela Shiffrin
In an interview with People in June 2020, Mikaela Shiffrin, American alpine skier, and three-time Olympic medalist revealed her struggles with performance anxiety and pressure. Shiffrin said that music is a powerful tool that helps us feel more deeply. It can help us drive and control our emotions and mindsets, or it can control us. Inventing acoustic versions for songs is a joy to her.
Masterson, a self-care expert, says Music has power. Masterson says that music is powerful and can be used to help you achieve a state of meditative or focused thought.
3. Speed Skater Erin Jackson: Stretching and a Massage Gun. Tart Cherry Juice.
American speed skater Erin Jackson, a two-time Olympian, says that her self-care focuses on optimizing recovery time and sleeping. Daily intake of tart cherry juice is part of her routine. Research does indeed link cherry juice to improved sleep and muscle recovery. However, the evidence for the former was only found in elite athletes performing at peak fitness levels, according to a review published in 2017. Cheribundi is Jackson’s brand ambassador.
Jackson offers some other suggestions for muscle recovery. Jackson states that regular stretching and massages are important. He also loves a good massage gun!
What the self-care expert says eating nutrient-dense food can help you perform better. Masterson states that this is true whether you’re competing on an Olympic speed-skating track, or shopping at the grocery store. A healthy diet is proven to be beneficial for long-term health. In fact, a review published 2020 found that there are many benefits to eating a healthy diet.
Masterson also says Jackson’s stretching routine and massage-gun regimen meet these ends. Massage and stretching, even for non-athletes will help to prevent tension and pain in the muscles. It will also send calm signals to the brain which, in turn, serves the entire body.
4. Stephen Emt, Wheelchair Curler: Visualization, Cardio and an Infrared Sauna
Paralympian wheelchair curler Stephen Emt uses meditation and positive imagery to help him take care of himself. In preparation for competition, he says that he photographs curling shots frequently. He also stated that he does 45 minutes of cardio every day, then 45 minutes in an infrared sauna. This helps to detoxify his body and reduce the pains and aches from exercise.
The self-care expert states Following physical activity with something that promotes muscle recovery is really important, Masterson said. Mentally, practicing a difficult task can be beneficial because it activates the brain parts that are responsible for the task.
Research published in December 2016 in Base and Applied Social Psychology found that imagery can be used in sports to improve objective performance. Masterson believes it can help build confidence by allowing you to imagine yourself doing well and correcting mistakes.
5. Eileen Gu, Freestyle Skier: A Good Night’s Rest
Eileen Gu, an American-born Chinese freestyle skier, made skiing history by becoming the first woman to score a forward double cork 1440 in a practice session. According to the International Olympic Committee. Eileen Gu is also starting a modeling career. How can she heal her body and mind? In a July 2021 interview, she stated that “Ten hours sleep a night” is impossible.
What the self-care expert says It’s not a secret that adequate sleep is essential for your mental health, cognitive function, and emotional management. Masterson points out that 10 hours of sleep may seem impossible, excessive, or unattainable for some people. According to the National Sleep Foundation, elite athletes may benefit from sleeping 9 hours or more per night. However, excessive sleep can pose some health risks for healthy adults. For optimal performance and health, 7 to nine hours of sleep per night is recommended for most adults.
6. Snowboarder Chloe Kim – A Good Skin-Care Regimen
The winter elements can dry out your skin quickly. This is why Chloe Kim, an American snowboarder, and former Olympic gold Medalist, make time to take care of her skin. In a February 2020 interview, she stated that it was taking 10-20 minutes to care for yourself. A thorough scrub with a rubber cleaner and foam cleanser is followed by a moisturizing combination of moisturizer and toner, as well as a soothing lip mask and paraben-free moisturizer.
What the self-care expert says A daily routine of skin-care can be a positive ritual for self-care, especially at night to prepare your body for sleep and start the wind-down process. Masterson states that a daily skin-care regimen can help you to feel calm. “Activating your skin’s touch receptors also sends a signal to your brain, which helps you relax.”
7. Alexa Knierim, Pairs Figure Skater: Epsom Salt Baths and Good Books
Epsom salt baths are a great way for Alexa Knierim, American pairs figure skater. They also help her with pain and sore muscles. I like to have a fun bath bomb with candles lit and a book to read, which helps me relax and rejuvenate my body.
What Masterson, a self-care expert, has to say Taking the time to relax and take in the soothing aromas and relaxing atmosphere of a warm bath is one way to escape the world and relieve tension and stress. In a 2018 study, published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, it was found that a warm bath can provide more relaxation benefits than a hot shower.
8. Jacqueline Wiles, Alpine Skier: Deep Breathing
After a hard day on the slopes, American alpine skier Jacqueline Wiles enjoys an Epsom salt bath. She also mentions that she uses deep breathing techniques to calm down and center herself before her run. This has been a great self-care tool for me when I’m struggling with nerves.
According to Masterson, deep breathing is a powerful technique for self-care that anyone can use to slow down their breath. This activates the parasympathetic nervous branch, which brings down stress levels and allows them to focus more deeply. According to Harvard Health Publishing, deep abdominal breathing allows for more oxygen and less carbon dioxide to enter the body. This results in relaxation, slower heartbeats, and lower or stabilizing blood pressure.
This post was written by Darryl Johnson, Co-Owner of Apex performance. At Apex performance we are a community of highly trained experts looking to provide performance enhancement and a permanent lifestyle change for our clients in a fun and interactive environment. Members can take advantage of youth sports performance training near me, one-on-one training, small group classes, and specialized courses for a wide variety of athletics, sports training, and body goals!