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Overtraining without variety can cause health defects

Photo by Isaac Myers ’18 – Sebastien Ribakare ’18 and Cameron Carr ’19 work out in the Weight Room during lunch Wednesday, April 6.
Photo by Isaac Myers ’18 – Sebastien Ribakare ’18 and Cameron Carr ’19 work out in the Weight Room during lunch Wednesday, April 6.

By Jose Cardenas ’16

Exercise is important for the growth of students and athletes; however, too much of it can put their health at risk.

Head Athletic Trainer and Physical Education and Health Department Chair Mr. Chris White oversees the management of sports health care.

Mr. White said that in general, athletes and all students need exercise. Everyone has individual limits and specific sports that they play and he said we should embrace that.

“For athletes, the best thing about exercise is enhancing performance,” Mr. White said. “If you go out and just do a sport you need to be conditioned to perform at the highest level.”

He said it is when athletes go overboard in their training and exercise that the negative effects begin to appear. The consequences can include stress fractures, connective tissue injury, chronic tendonitis, the tightening of muscles and postural problems.

“When you see performance decrease in strength or stamina or whatever, that is when you have to take a step back,” Mr. White said. “If you are causing dysfunction because of injury, that is when you need to take a step back.”

Mr. White proposed that the simplest remedy for dysfunction and injury through overtraining is adding variety to exercise and playing multiple sports since very few athletes are not multi-sport athletes. This modification of activity is needed to maximize student health.

“The most common thing we see with chronic injury is overtraining and using the same pattern or using the same muscle group over and over and over again without mixing it up,” Mr. White said.

There are examples of multi-sport athletes at Brophy who say that they recognize the benefit of many different exercises.

Ryan Velez ’16, a football player, baseball player and former wrestler, said that not only did playing in multiple sports keep him active, but it also contributed to his whole health.

“I think variety is key because playing multiple sports helps you work different muscles and use things you might not have used before in another sport,” Velez said. “It … makes you physically and mentally better.”

Mr. Joe Denk, the strength and conditioning coach, said he also sees the benefits of diversity in workouts and works to integrate it into his classes.

“I like to fluctuate things often enough so that it gives them some variety and for the mental break it gives them,” Mr. Denk said, “It is about training the muscle imbalances that develop and giving them variety based on what they need as individuals and what they need in the sport.”

He said that thinking with your mind and thinking with your muscles should go hand-in-hand.

“What I tell them is that we need to work hard and we need to work smart,” Mr. Denk said. “Let’s work just as hard and let’s work even smarter.”

Matthew Kempton ’17, who plays both football and basketball, said that taking breaks and relaxing is one of the best things an athlete can do.

“There are some times when you overexert yourself, whether you’re going too many days straight or being at the gym too long,” Kempton said. “Too much exercise of anything is going to hurt your body … make sure to rest.”

Mr. White said the effects of too much exercise are severely debilitating to student health so working toward variety and rest must be taken into account and utilized more in all sports.

“You don’t want to overkill yourself to the point where you’re passing out or you’re about to puke,” Velez said.

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