Erick Alvarez, PT Medical Director

My favorite sporting event, The World Cup, is well underway and will continue through mid-July. It is a thirty-two nations team tournament that groups 4 nations into 8 separate groups into a round robin format with the top two of each group moving forward into single elimination matches that progresses from a Round of 16, Quarterfinals, Semi-finals, and Final. The two finalists would play up to seven matches in less then one month. What many people do not realize is that these elite athletes have already gone through an arduous season with their professional club team that runs from late July with pre-season camp, a regular season of 38 league games and possible domestic and continental tournaments through the end of May. For players, like Leonel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, there are several times a year that they must also play international friendlies or World Cup qualifiers matches with their national team. Think of Michael Jordan playing for the Chicago Bulls and then traveling, training and playing for the US Men’s Basketball National Team during the season. For players of Messi and Ronaldo’s caliber they may play 60-70 matches in a calendar year.

Soccer is an intense game requiring strength, endurance, stamina and mental preparation. Most player run 5-7 miles during each match and must be prepared to stop and go on a full out sprint, withstand many changes of pace and speed on the field, demonstrate incredible foot control and balance and take some knocks on the way. In a way, it kind of like busy home / work schedule. The key in maintaining this level of fitness is the rehabilitation and recovery in order to replenish energy and repair damaged muscle tissues.

In our clinics, we may see athletes, weekend warriors training or competing in cross-fit games / activities, runners, cyclist, swimmers, home improvement do-it- yourselfers or just a busy parent. We may at times be involved with activities that require a certain amount of intensity, strength, endurance, stamina and mental preparation. Believe me, as a parent of four children under the age of seven, it’s a workout for my wife and I attending to their needs, keeping them engaged in a particular activity, getting spring and summer chores completed and preparing for any possible vacations.

Fatigue, weakness, strain / sprain or repetitive activities are a few factors that produce injuries. In some cases, we experience the same injuries a sport athlete may endure. Sometimes our body needs to find ways to replenish itself just like a professional soccer player. Recovery can be done in many ways from dieting and nutrition, re-hydration, stretching, soft tissue mobilization, cool down exercises and of course, rest and sleep. No matter who you are, your body needs a certain amount of recovery to prevent injury. We can re-energize and re-hydrate our body by the food and drink we consume, perform cool down activities even something simple like walking followed by stretching exercises. But the most important thing can be as simple as a quick nap or a good night sleep. These few steps are ways that will help you recover and can get you ready for your next World Cup match, next big competition, next home project or the next day all-around schedule entertaining your kids.