5 Things We Could Learn From Olympic Athletes

So the London 2012 Olympics are in full swing. After a spectacular opening ceremony, with a whole heap of medals already given to the top elite, it’s hard not to get in the spirit of things. As we screaming at the TV, with our country men and women giving blood, sweat, and tears to achieving their ultimate goal.

Being an Ankylosing Spondylitis(AS) sufferer I think it’s pretty safe to say that our condition would stop us competing in the 2016 Olympics in Rio next time around. But that shouldn’t stop us being inspired by the occasion. After all, that is the message of the games – To inspire a generation.

So you may be revelling in Great Britain’s current dominance in the cycling, and are considering getting back on your bike? Maybe Michael Phelps is your hero as the most decorated Olympian of the modern games, giving you the urge to go for a dip? Or perhaps you fancy taking a leaf out of the many young gymnasts books, doing double somersaults over the living room, using your sofa as a gym horse? Yeah…….. don’t fancy that last one either.

Image Credit: DailyMail.co.uk

So what can we learn from these perfectly sculpted, and often annoyingly good-looking individuals?

Well in short if we want to be the master of your own body, and ultimately our illness, then exercise if the key!! As the old saying goes, ‘if you don’t use it, you fuse it’.

Here’s five things we can learn from them in order to achieve the best results for our labours:

Discipline – If an athlete lets this slide then their results suffer, and they find it harder to get ‘on form’. We risk the same problem if we let our discipline slide, with our symptoms transgressing into a previous state, making a harder uphill battle for you to get back to where you once was.

Hard work – This one is straight forward. Unfortunately there is no ‘quick fix’ to cure your AS; even with today’s modern medicine, and the remarkable anti-Tnf drugs available. Along side these treatments you should still be putting the work in. You need to do it yourself!  No one will ‘magic’ you better. Be prepared for the long haul.

Have a Routine – This will help us put in the hard work with our ever increasingly busy lives. You will certainly also need discipline to stick to it, but routine will help you find out how your body reacts to the stresses you are putting it under. This will help you to gauge just how your going to feel at certain points in time. You can then adjust routine accordingly to get the best results. Ad-hoc exercise will not be efficient, and is likely to have no long-term benefit.

Determination – This might seem a silly thing to say, but, you have to really want to get better. We all want the pain to stop, but moaning about it isn’t going to solve anything. In the true definition of the word, you need a ‘firmness of purpose’. This is not done by negativity, PMA people!

Eat like a Winner – Now I’m not saying you need to start stuffing your face with  6000+ kcals a day like most athletes do. You need to look at your diet and eat balanced meals, keeping an eye on your kcal intake may also help you loose weight in a healthy way, unlike some of the fad diets you may have previously tried. This will ensure you are not depriving your body of what it needs, which may ultimately cause your symptoms to get worse. Keeping a health BMIwill also help to reduce the stress and weight you put on your bones and joints. Obviously this is a huge benefit in the long run.

So, how like an athlete are you? Are you already doing these five things? Is there anything else we can learn from the elite?

What’s been your favourite event so far of the Olympics? And what are you looking forward to in the coming weeks?

5 Replies to “5 Things We Could Learn From Olympic Athletes”

  1. Eve

    I only recently got diagnosed. I have always been super sporty I play competitive netball 4 times a week and also go to the gym 4 times a week. The Physio told me I’m doing everything right and the reason I still move so well is due to the amount I do. I’m 33 now and hope to get to 40 still playing netball. I am slowing down and sometimes struggle, the fatigue gets me some days but I refuse to give up as netball is a massive part of my life 🙂 Apparently Mike Atherton the ex English cricketer suffered from AS, it cut short his cricket, but proves that some AS suffers can still compete at the highest levels.

    Loved the blog, thought it was very inspirational.

    • Endless Trax

      Thank you Eve.

      I have to agree with your physio; you are doing remarkably well. It is certainly going to help you in the long run.

      You are correct, Mike Atherton does have AS. Phil Mickelson, one of the worlds greatest ever golfers suffers with Psoriatic Athritis. The symptoms of which can be very much the same as AS, especially the fatigue. Since his diagnosis he has learn to manage his condition well, and adjusted his swing accordingly. Despite only being 17th in the world at the moment he is certainly still competing at a very high level.

      So if he can do it, then surely I can too 😉

  2. Eve

    haha, Yes it has helped but being so active also makes people not believe you are in pain. I always play unless the pain is so bad that I lose the strength in a leg, the muscles then do their own thing when it gets bad! lol

    I do think some of my netball mates struggle to understand why some weeks I am much better than others!:) When I got uveitis I struggled a little with awareness of the players I was marking but because team players could ‘see’ the problem they accept it, even though uveitis is much less painful!

    I would love to have a go at rowing, Has anyone tried http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19050139 . It links your body type to athletes, according to that I have the same body type of Natasha Paige, Jess Eddie and Annie Vernon….all female rowers! At 5’10” I’m clearly too short for the ball type sports!

  3. Debbie Cook

    Just back from my holibobs Ricky and I love your latest blog! Inspirational. I had already made up my mind whilst away that I needed to have a go at cycling and eat more healthily but your post has ensured that I do it rather than think about it – thank you. Debbie


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