Lions, and Tigers and Bears, oh my! It's time for touchdowns, tackles, and tight ends. Whether you're watching your kids play, watching the pros, or playing the weekend warrior playing a pickup game on the front lawn or in the park, fall means football (and soccer) for a lot of people here in Seattle and across the US. Here are a few ways to add some healthy habits to your season!
Stretch! Get all those muscles nice and warm. Stretch your large muscle groups (upper legs- front AND back, calves, biceps & triceps, back muscles and neck muscles) to improve circulation and prevent injuries. Sitting on the couch through a Sunday's-worth of games can take a toll. Get up and move around, grab another glass of water, and keep moving. If you or your kids are on the field, warming up before the game is a MUST to avoid Monday remorse.
Snack! Healthy snacks, like carrot sticks, orange slices, and peanut butter with crackers are perennial favorites for teams. At home? Add a twist to plain old chips and salsa by making a mix of shredded cabbage, diced tomatoes, onions, garlic and jalapenos to serve alongside. Buy the baked chips this time. Fruit plates, veggie trays with healthy dips like hummus, and chicken skewers instead of ribs and burgers are all great options that are lower in fat and calories. Chili is great, but skip the sour cream and mountains of shredded cheese & bacon bits.*
Drink! Water, that is. The more well-hydrated you are, the less sore you're going to be. Water helps remove waste products from active muscles, making for a more pleasant morning after the big game. Make sure to replace your electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, which are lost when you sweat and can't be replaced by plain water. Healthy options, such as Recharge or Emergen-C are good alternatives to Gatorade and other electrolyte replacement drinks that use artificial ingredients.
Let's be realistic. Lots of folks like a beer while they watch the game. If you're going to drink alcohol, make sure you have a designated driver. Alternate each alcoholic drink with a large glass of water to avoid over-consumption (by filling up with water, you'll be less inclined to drink more alcohol to satisfy your thirst mechanism, and a stomach full of water will also help to stop you from eating the whole bag of chips by yourself). Know your limits. No one likes to deal with drunks at public sporting events or bars, so be aware of how much you're drinking.
Have fun! Parents, remember that your kids are playing sports to have fun! Overcompetitive parents and those who argue with the referees, coaches, or other attendees are no fun for anyone. If you're playing, go with a laid-back approach. You're there to have fun, get some exercise, and spend time with your friends and teammates. Enjoy!
Remember Stone Turtle Health for school sports physicals (only $40 or insurance), therapeutic massage for sports injuries, and prevention.
*(Check back tomorrow for fall recipes that are great for entertaining during or after the game.)