In our series, “Fitness Breakaway sponsored by Rocky Mountain Health Plans,” we are offering fitness and healthy living tips from the professionals on the Rapids’ staff. The third installment discusses the importance of getting rest.
Eat, sleep, play soccer, repeat. Thirteen-year veteran of Major League Soccer, Edson Buddle, has this routine down to a science, and can only emphasize the importance of getting enough rest.
“It’s important to get rest for your body’s recovery,” says Buddle, who recently scored his 100th career MLS goal. “You want to be sleeping enough to be as alert as possible on the field and not feel sluggish.”
As a professional athlete, Buddle says he gets anywhere from eight-to-ten hours of sleep a night in order to be as refreshed as possible for the next day. Colorado’s head athletic trainer, Jaime Rojas, says he’s right on target.
“Athletes need to get a lot of rest. Sleep is our regenerative process, and it’s important for brain, neurological and muscular function.”
It’s no surprise that there are side effects of not getting enough sleep, and Buddle says that, in his personal experience, his body will show signs when it is depleted of energy, like getting sick or experiencing muscle injuries and pain.
For young kids who play in tournaments that schedule multiple games in one weekend, it’s even more important to rest properly between those matches that are so demanding on their bodies.
“In between games, it’s important to use the time between them to recover as best you can,” explained Rojas. “After you’ve played the first game, do a good recovery and stretch, get your legs up, and make sure to eat proper food before the next game.”
And in between days of tournaments, Rojas adds: “Eat a very good meal and get a good night’s sleep, preferably around 8-10 hours.”
Rojas also says there are different types of rest that athletes can do during the week to help recover from activity.
“There’s active rest and full rest. Sometimes, we’ll tell the Rapids players on a day off to do full rest. That means we don’t want them playing golf or out in the sun. We want them at home, legs up - let the blood start pouring back towards the heart.”
And sometimes, there’s active rest, where he will encourage players to get in a light jog, do some yoga or another type of low-impact exercise.
At the end of the day, though, it all comes down to getting enough sleep and preparing as best you can for the day ahead.