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Prep Tennis and Chiropractic: Should Be a Love Affair for Life

Reviewed by: Dr. Steven Knauf, D.C.

By Paul Rothbart

Prep Track and Field: Navigating the Hurdles to Better Performance

High school sports are an extracurricular activity enjoyed by millions of students across the country. Representing your school in athletic competition is a source of great pride for these young athletes as well as a lot of fun. The other students, faculty, and community members like to come out and root for their teams.

In most high schools, the track teams are by far the largest. A small team has about 40-50 participants, but some schools have more than 100. That’s even more than a typical high school football team.

How Many High School Track and Field Athletes Are There?

The number of high school students who participate in track and field is massive nationwide. It is by far the sport with the highest number of students. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, more than 1.1 million students are active on their school’s track and field teams each year. With the Paris Summer Games on the horizon, interest in the sport may increase as the next Usain Bolt or Allyson Felix gets their start toward Olympic Gold.

That is a huge number of student-athletes performing in some of the most challenging and taxing events in the world of sports. In addition to caring for their bodies and practicing, these teens benefit from certain traits depending on their event.

What Traits Are Necessary to Excel in Track and Field?

Like any other athlete, track and field participants need a high degree of fitness, the ability to focus, and a competitive spirit for success. Track is made up of running, jumping, throwing, and hurdling events. Each of these requires different traits and abilities.

Runners

Runners come in two categories: sprinters and distance runners. Both groups need excellent lower body strength and strong feet and ankles.

Sprinters must have excellent fast-twitch muscle fibers to allow for the explosive action of a race start and to drive them down the track at top speed.

Endurance is the trait most needed by distance runners. A strong cardiovascular system is required so the heart and lungs can provide the energy to keep them going until the end of a grueling race.

Jumpers

Jumpers are another group of athletes who need fast-twitch fibers and good explosive strength. Whether they are long jumpers, triple jumpers, or high jumpers, their legs need to be able to launch them through the air. Pole vaulting requires the explosiveness and the upper body strength, and coordination to propel the body high enough to clear the bar.

Throwers

There are several things that track and field athletes throw including the shot put, discus, and javelin. The obvious trait they require is a strong throwing arm but they need more than that. Any athlete who throws needs strong legs because power is provided by the lower body. They must have excellent coordination to transfer that power completely and release what they are throwing at the proper moment.

Hurdlers

High-hurdle races are especially challenging. Participants must jump each hurdle while running at full speed. This requires explosiveness for maximum speed and to clear each hurdle. Coordination and timing are essential to get over the hurdles without breaking stride.

Can Chiropractic Improve Track and Field Performance?

Track and field athletes would be well served to consider visiting a chiropractor. Every event carries a risk of injury. Chiropractic care can be helpful treating many of these injuries and reducing the risk of getting hurt.

Chiropractic adjustments may also improve athletic performance. Adjustments and treatments of the musculoskeletal system can improve range of motion, reduce pain, and increase blood flow. These benefits are experienced by athletes in running, jumping, hurdling, and throwing events. But these benefits are also experienced by athletes of any sport regardless of the skill set that’s needed.

How Are Spinal Alignment, Joint Mobility, and Muscle Function Linked to Athletic Success?

For enhanced performance, the body needs to be functioning optimally. Chiropractic care for athletes helps to ensure that their spines are properly aligned, their joints have full mobility, and that their muscles are functioning as they were designed to function.

The explosive movements of sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers, and throwers can cause injuries to joints; Distance runners can suffer stress fractures from their feet slamming down on payment with every step. Chiropractic treatments can aid in faster recovery and pain relief. Because chiropractic is holistic and natural, there are no potentially dangerous prescription drugs involved in treatment.

A healthy body that is properly aligned aids in injury prevention as well as better performance.

Why Is Chiropractic an Important Part of Any Athletic Program?

Track and field is not the only sport that high school athletes play. Many of the same types of physical movements that are found in track and field events occur in other sports. Basketball and volleyball players jump, baseball players and quarterbacks throw, and everybody runs. Occasionally a running back or receiver will hurdle an opponent, and soccer players are often jumping. Hockey players skate, which is very taxing. Chiropractic care can be helpful to any young athlete in the same way that it is beneficial to 40-year-old professional athletes.

Should High School Athletes Take Ownership of Their Health?

Everyone should take ownership of their health. It’s your body. If you don’t care for it, who will?

High school athletes, with the help of their parents and coaches, should be aware of proper training, nutrition, and technique in their sports. This includes the use of safety equipment. Like any athlete, they should take advantage of every training advantage available to them, including chiropractic care.

Young bodies are still growing and going through the challenging years of puberty. This is hard enough. When you add classes, studying, homework, and then participating in sports, you have quite a load on a teenager. These are compelling reasons for high school athletes to take on the responsibility of caring for themselves. These lessons will carry over into adulthood and a healthy life.

Track and field is a fulfilling athletic event that challenges the human body and is enjoyed by many high school students. If you have a future champion -- or just someone who wants to get the most out of their participation -- consider taking them to a chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in your neighborhood. There are clinics all over the nation and are easily accessible. You don’t need an appointment to drop in, so stop by the nearest location. Find out how chiropractic can help keep your student athlete healthy and aimed toward the podium.

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