Optimizing the Olympic Village – START WALKING NOW!

This is the third piece of a multi-part series with suggestions for athletes on how to optimize life at the Olympic Village in order to maximize performance.  

Seriously, I say this to every athlete attending the Olympic Games.  You will walk.  You will walk some more.  And, finally, you will walk some more.  You will walk more miles at an Olympic Games than you can possibly imagine.  Maybe it’s not a big deal for some athletes, but all of that walking can have an impact on your recovery.

The Harvard Medical School published an article that stated:

Let’s look at weight and your knees. When you walk across level ground, the force on your knees is the equivalent of 1½ times your body weight. That means a 200-pound man will put 300 pounds of pressure on his knees with each step. Add an incline, and the pressure is even greater: the force on each knee is two to three times your body weight when you go up and down stairs, and four to five times your body weight when you squat to tie a shoelace or pick up an item you dropped.  (http://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/why-weight-matters-when-it-comes-to-joint-pain)

My recommendation is take an ice bath at the end of each day.  Make sure you notify your team medical and set up a time every evening that you can get in the tub.  Remember that now more than ever yIce Bathsou want to follow that winning routine.  Some other tips:

  • The temperature of the bath should fall between 54 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • 6-10 minutes should do the trick.
  • Allow your body temperature to return to normal before taking that hot shower.

In addition to the added stress on joints, there is also an increased metabolic demand.  The average person will burn a
n extra 100 calories for every mile of walking.  Since Olympians aren’t average, it’s probably safe to assume that your metabolism fires a little hotter than the average person due to your muscle mass or size.   Don’t underestimate the distance that you will walk either.  A simple 5-10 minute walk to the dining hall three or four times a day PLUS a walk to the training venue PLUS a walk to visit some friends or family outside the village adds mileage quickly.

Finally, one of the best things you can do in these final weeks leading up to your competition is to walk an extra two miles per day.  This will pre-condition your body to the stress of walking at the village.  I know it’s pain.  I know it’s annoying.  But this could be the difference between making the podium or not.

Good Luck!  And Enjoy the Walking!


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