SUCCESS in many sports disciplines nowadays requires repeated burst of high intensity activity and the increasing levels of aerobic fitness on account of the fact that competition activity has increased.
As many disciplines look forward to opening the 2016 sports calendar, it is important for trainers and coaches to embrace or increase aerobic activity for their athletes.
Today, the general populace in the country has come to appreciate the importance of aerobics with regard to keeping fit, losing weight and commonly, to maintain healthy living and reduce the high risks of heart-related diseases.
However, besides the above benefits, aerobic training improves the ability to use oxygen to sustain activity for longer periods of time for sports that demand long-term supplies of oxygen such as marathon runners and distance swimmers.
On one side of the spectrum, we have soccer players who are repeatedly marking, jogging, or sprinting to make plays or keep up with an opponent but on the opposite end, we have basketball players who get intermittent periods of rest in between bursts of both high and low-intensity exercise.
But one common thing is that all these athletes must perform some degree of aerobics work in their training because it (aerobic system) is vigorous in its ability to produce energy for prolonged periods of time.
The recent past has seen cases of cardiac arrests in football become rife. Memories are still fresh of one of Chipolopolo’s talented players Chaswe Nsofwa who died after suffering heart failure during a training match between his Hapoel Be’er Sheva team and Maccabi Be’er Sheva at Vasermil stadium in Israel in 2007.
Then came another case of Bolton Wanderers striker Fabrice Muamba who suffered a cardiac arrest during a televised FA cup match against Tottenham Hotspurs in 2012 and after the Congolese born forward survived the danger following weeks of being in a coma, he was never to play football again after doctors advised him to hang up his boots.
Now the sequence of such cases has resulted in the rise of aerobic activity by many athletes for fear of suffering a similar fate or to improve efficiency.
In principle, players get better at whatever they train for, therefore, matching the energy patterns like how intense, how often or how much recovery time of a sport with their training programme, is cardinal to success in competition.
From experience, I have discovered that bodies that are subjected to aerobic activity tend to adapt from low to moderate-intensity activities that last for more than just a few minutes while sustained workouts improve the body’s ability to breathe in and use oxygen.
Something I have learnt over the past few months is that it doesn’t matter how hard or smart one is in training but the real key is in recovery and even if one plays a power-end sport, some low-level aerobic activity can help facilitate recovery, which then allows them to train harder.
Various literatures have been written on aerobic energy system that makes the heart more efficient, activates the nervous system and promotes more blood flow to the muscles.
A fit athlete is able to do greater amounts of high-quality skill work when compared to a less fit counterpart.
For instance, if a golfer can go out and swing for 10 minutes and then fatigue sets in because they are out of shape, they are only getting 10 minutes of high-quality skill work in a day, but if one takes that same athlete and give them an aerobic foundation, they can perform high-quality skill work for 20, 30 or even 40 or more minutes.
At the end of the day, what we do in the gym is general physical preparation for any encounter.
As much as we love ourselves and the training programmes we create, the goal is to take those physical traits we create in the gym and utilise them to enhance athletic skill.
On the field or court, no one cares what the numbers are like in the gym. It is all about the ability to use those physical traits in one’s sport of choice.
With so many targets and goals set by individual athletes and teams, I feel that if coaches take time to build a modest aerobic foundation in the training programmes, they will be rewarded with healthier and more resilient athletes.
My appeal to trainers; take some time this year to build an aerobic engine for your athletes, they will thank you for it!
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