Important Things An Active Person Should Know About Feet

Most of us take thousands of steps a day by foot. An active person or someone who participates in sports will likely use their feet even more. We use our feet every day for very important reasons, but many of us still neglect to care for them. Paying more attention to our trotters can result in more attractive and healthier feet, so why do we ignore them? To learn more about your feet and the importance of foot care, read on.

The Proper Shoes Make A Difference

Ill-fitting shoes can cause blisters, bunions, and foot pain. Athletes and runners are especially prone to foot discomfort. Your shoes should always fit your foot, allowing adequate room for your toes to move, and supplying the appropriate support and cushioning. If you are a runner, investing in a good pair of running shoes is highly recommended. Basketball players, dancers, tennis players, and golf players should also wear shoes which are comfortable and suitable for their individual needs.

Foot Odor Is Caused By Sweat And Bacteria

Active people are especially prone to foot odor because they tend to sweat more. Sweating is healthy and is your body’s natural way of cooling itself, but it can lead to some nasty bodily odors. Foot odor is often characterized by a cheesy, vinegary smell. The feet are full of sweat glands and these glands can excrete up to a half-pint of moisture a day.

The best way to prevent foot odor is to keep the feet dry and clean. Washing your feet every day, changing your socks frequently, and alternating your shoes can greatly reduce unpleasant foot odors. It is important to alternate your shoes because bacteria and moisture can build up inside of footwear, which is what causes the bad odors. Letting your shoes fully dry out before wearing them again is recommended. In addition, there are various foot deodorizers available for those who suffer from foot odor.

Foot Fungus Is Preventable

Fungus loves feet because the inside of your shoes provides them with the perfect breeding ground. Damp and dark, your well-worn shoes attract the organisms which cause athlete’s foot and toenail fungus. Once fungus invades, it can be hard to get rid of. If the conditions are right, fungal infections can live on your feet for years.

Active individuals should take preventive measures against foot fungus by wearing clean socks, washing the feet often, and wearing protective shoes in public places which can harbor fungus.

If you contract nail fungus or athlete’s foot, it is important to treat it with topical creams and antifungal medications. Doing so prevents the fungus from spreading and getting worse. The sooner the condition is treated, the easier it will be to manage.

Your Feet Can Be Linked To Your Health

Certain diseases like diabetes and peripheral arterial disease can cause symptoms in your feet. Undiagnosed diabetes is known to cause dry skin because glucose levels affect sweat and oil production in your feet. Loss of feeling in the feet due to nerve damage is also a common symptom of diabetes.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) can cause thin, shiny skin on the feet. PAD causes poor blood circulation and raises your risk of heart attack and stroke. If your feet show any signs of circulation issues, consult your doctor promptly.

Taking care of your lower extremities and looking for any unusual signs and symptoms is the best way to maintain healthy feet. Keeping your feet clean and rotating your shoes is also a good idea, especially if you are active. Doing so will prevent foot odors and fungal infections. Your feet are essential to your body, so treat them as such.

10 Healthy Snacks for Athletes

As an athlete, you aren’t going to get anywhere close to a good performance on an empty stomach. On the other hand, eating the wrong food and too much of it before a game isn’t good either. Your pre-game meal should at best be decorating your shoes because you might puke everything out what you ate.

The ideal thing to do is to consume a pre-game snack which would address your needs for energy such as easily digestible carbohydrates along with the additional goodness of essential nutrients. As far as lifestyle is concerned, athletes are sometimes tempted to steer off track and indulge in unhealthy habits. It’s a grab-and-go situation because of the feeling of hunger all the time.

If you are an athlete, the best way to abide by a healthy lifestyle is to remain focused on your goals and, of course, your diet. To avoid the temptation of unhealthy snack choices, here are 10 beneficial snacks for athletes like you irrespective of what your game is.

1. Homemade trail mix

A combination of nuts such as cashew, peanuts, almonds, and walnuts along with simple carbs like granola, pretzels and dry fruit can provide you with a good dose of protein. This combo also provides healthy omega 3 fatty acids which contribute to fat burn, energy, and muscle recovery. The benefit of these snacks is they remain fresh throughout the day.

2. Sports Nutrition Bar

Sports nutrition bars are fast and portable snacks, making it easy to grab-and-go. However, they can also be expensive. Not all sports nutrition bars can suit your purpose because they could be loaded with sugars and high calories. What you can do instead is to find out which one works best for you in terms of a healthy sportsperson’s diet.

3. Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches

Peanut butter is an all-time favorite for many, but you need to be careful of allergies. This combo snack packed with nutrients would provide your fats and proteins along with the goodness of fiber. Honey is beneficial for athletes as it also contains antioxidants and a load of vitamins and nutrients.

4. Pretzels and Hummus

As a healthy snack for athletes, this combination could as well be your favorite party food. This goes on to show that eating healthy is not boring at all. Pretzels and hummus are portable snacks that can be carried around anywhere. They are packed with protein, fiber and a variety of other essential nutrients

5. Whole Grain Bagel with Nut Butter

As a treat packed with crabs and protein the whole grain bagel with nut butter is one of the best choices for athletes. This combination is low in sugar as well. Versatile snacks like these create variety as you can choose the ingredients from different nut butters like almond, sunflower, and peanut. The combination of high protein and carb content also acts as a pre- or post-workout snack.

6. Fruit

While many think describing fruit as a sack seems weird because it is more of a food choice, you’ll be surprised how fruits can provide you a power punch of vitamins and ready electrolytes even during a game. This is why you may have noticed tennis athletes chomping on bananas in between sets. Bananas are packed with potassium and prevent cramps. Bananas also contain a ready source of electrolytes necessary for one’s game. Apples are also high in natural sugar and fiber. Popping a handful of grapes will also give you fuel to up your game.

7. Salmon Sandwich

Did you know the benefits of salmon during work-outs are that it provides you with an abundance of nutrients primarily rich in omega 3 fatty acids and promotes muscle recovery? In addition to an amazing dose of omega 3s, you get vitamin B, Selenium, antioxidants, potassium, weight maintenance, and of course, proteins.

8. Grilled Chicken Breast and Cottage Cheese Sandwich

The ingredients of the grilled chicken breast include a healthy low fat dose of excellent protein and a number of less celebrated nutrients which are extremely helpful for your body. By far one of the most important elements of chicken breast is Leucine, which in turn is one of the three main BCAAS (branch chain amino acids) highly essential for health. Leucine contributes toward healing and health of skeletal muscle tissue. Apart from these foods, there is a load of healthy snacks you can choose that are both nutrient-rich as well as pleasing in taste.

9. Non-Fat Plain or Greek Yogurt

It’s a no-brainer to conclude that athletes need strong muscles and healthy bone structure. So, yogurt is a rich source of calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and also reduces the risk of osteoporosis. But did you know, as per some experts, calcium also plays a pivotal role in muscle metabolism? Since yogurt encourages the growth of good bacteria, which also help your body fight many diseases, it’s a good snack for athletes.

10. Raw Vegetables

You might not have paid a heed on the nutritious value of raw vegetables, but these are highly essential for athletes like you. You can easily get ahold of baby carrot sticks cut-up in individual packages with broccoli and cauliflower that are readily available in supermarkets. Then, just mix them and prepare a light salad dressing.

Snacks for Athletes

Since you are an athlete living in a fast-paced world, it would be difficult on concentrating more than three meals per day. Instead, nutritional experts advocate eating small healthy meals per day which can provide enough fuel for improved workouts and exceptional health. Besides nutrition, you can also abide by healthy habits that would make you a better athlete.

Balancing Punishments With Support Networks for Convicted Athletes

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Former New England Patriot, Aaron Hernandez, was convicted of 1st Degree Murder in April 2015

Criminal issues have certainly disgraced professional athletes with endless cases of murder, gun violence, domestic violence, drinking and driving, child endangerment, performance enhancing drugs, gambling, unauthorized videotaping, stolen crab legs, whatever the problem, there are daily scandals in the sports world.

The modern era of bad boys in sports dates back to 1994 when OJ Simpson may or may not have murdered his ex-wife, Nicole. He was acquitted, although he certainly endured a public execution and ended up in prison in 2008 anyway.

One problem in demonizing actions is by thinking something is new or shocking. However, the sports world has always been full of misappropriations. Athletes cheating or breaking the law is not new, or particularly shocking. It’s somewhat natural.

Athletes of All Ages Have Tried To Cheat the System

Performance enhancing drugs, for example, have been around a long time. They’ve only been highlighted more recently by rule changes regarding designer steroids. Still, doping has always been an issue. It was an issue going back to ancient Greeks using opium juice in the original Olympics and there are records in the 1940s of cyclists using amphetamines to help increase endurance. Across time, the supply has been different, not the culture.

The same can be said for gambling in sports. It is infrequently discussed enough to only be associated with Pete Rose or the 1919 Chicago Black Sox. These incidents were understandable in context of how they occurred and in context of history. From amateur to professional sports, gambling has been problematic in every era.

George Bechtel was banned from baseball in 1876 for conspiring to throw a game, and that was at a time when bookies circulated through the stands taking bets as if they were cotton candy vendors. As a 19-year-old semi-pro in 1907, future baseball hall of famer, Walter Johnson was purchased by Payette to pitch one game versus Caldwell with a heavy amount of betting. The original football golden boy and winner of the 1961 NFL MVP award, Paul Hornung, along with teammate Alex Karras, were suspended for betting on football. Denny McLain, the last pitcher to win 30 games to go with Cy Young awards in 1968 and 1969, was suspended in 1970 for gambling and quickly destroyed his baseball career on a path to prison.  

Players in the old days were not paid ridiculously high salaries as they are now. Baseball players were sometimes banned for requesting higher contracts prior to 1915. It took the formation of the Federal League in 1913 for player rights to be granted by American or National League owners. As the highest paid baseball player of his era, Ty Cobb made $20,000 in 1915, or roughly equivalent to just under $500,000 in 2015 dollars. The highest paid in 2015, Clayton Kershaw, makes over 60 times Ty Cobb’s adjusted-for-inflation salary.

It was assumed that players conspired with gamblers because they weren’t paid appropriately. As economics changed, players started to be paid more fairly and gambling became less of a problem overall, though the high salaries of modern players have resulted in high stakes gambling in many cases. Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley have been disgraced by gambling. Golfer John Daly is infamously known for his huge gambling losses. As well, modern day soccer players have lost millions in a psychosocial culture of gambling.

Gambling and doping are somewhat taken for granted as part of sports culture, but more violent behaviors, like murder (Aaron Hernandez), armed robbery (Clifford Etienne), child abuse (Adrian Peterson), and domestic violence are subject to harsher criticism. Whatever the social ill, there are many professional athletes guilty of transgressions. A Wikipedia list of crimes committed by athletes is longer than any team roster, many with mafia-like crimes.

Athletes have a drive to be competitive, a tenacity and fighting spirit. They have a desire to win at all costs. And when players of rough sports, like football, are so willing to throw their bodies into other bodies, how does such reckless abandon keep contained? That must be difficult, particularly for players from poor backgrounds subjected to violence as youth and/or with little education. To top it off, violence would seem more likely when condoned by coaches, such as the New Orleans Saints offering incentives for injuring opposing players.

Sometimes, giving someone millions of dollars just opens the door for millions of problems. That is the primary difference between the ages. In either case, it is not up to the athlete to behave. The athlete’s job is to compete at high levels. It is up to society to set the standards and provide the support, or lack of support, for player’s paychecks.

Leveling the Field

The big question becomes what penalties are appropriate? Should life be so strict as locking the door and throwing away the key?

No endorsement should ever be given to Ray Rice’s elevator incident and I personally would support a permanent ban in his, and similar cases. However, it’s also important to consider the element within human nature. Giving people a second chance provides hope.

Nobody is perfect. People know from the start that they will make mistakes. In fact, doctors in training necessarily need to make mistakes to learn. The differentiating factor separating a doctor’s success from failure is “knowledge of the repercussions and instill a character that doesn’t allow them to be the least paralyzed by the fear of the responsibility placed on their hands.” This means exactly that we must accept faults without being tied down by them.

There is much encouragement in learning and growing from mistakes and not being permanently locked away from another chance. The idea of the possibility of living only in fear and without hope is enough to make people more lenient toward criminals.

That much is evident with general prison populations. Most of the millions of prisoners in the United States will eventually be released and return to the public. With no hope or support, there absolutely will be a high recidivism rate. Oregon is admittedly progressive compared to many states, but still a heavy majority of Oregonians support rehabilitation efforts and services to prepare prisoners for reentry through job training, mental health, drug treatment and education. There is no reason to expect convicted athletes also wouldn’t benefit society better by having a support network. Some may say that due to their celebrity status and exceptional situations they would have even more need for certain services.

It is worth noting, however, that Oregonians also support close supervision of ex-prisoners. Basically, that means giving second chances, but with a short leash. My argument for not endorsing criminal activities while suggesting standards for athletes be in line with other people in society is similar. That is why Aaron Hernandez will serve life in prison. That is why Ray Rice shouldn’t get the golden path he had prior to his knocking out his wife. On the flipside, paying Sean Payton the richest coaching contract after a year long “vacation” is not congruent to what would happen in the rest of society.

When we let individuals off easy, we are not setting examples for the rest of society. Still, a second chance is crucial for the hope of future society. These are not individual problems because there are too many individuals committing the crimes. These are societal problems. Society needs room to breathe and recover from these problems.

Building Hope and Enforcing Accountability

Giving hope and holding people accountable can happen together. There are other avenues for Ray Rice beyond the football field. As a leader, or role model, maybe coach, Rice can still accomplish many great things. That’s up to him to show the strength to rebound from a reasonable punishment. Removing him from the game is part of the price paid for his actions. Holding him accountable makes the system fair and sends the message that assaulting other people is not okay.  

Society’s expectations for celebrities are pretty strict considering how many average people have problems staying out of trouble. This makes it problematic to expect more from athletes, yet we often judge them differently. What we need is the balance of toeing the line between knowing what is right, understanding consequences and feeling hopeful that we can succeed in the world despite lamentable actions.

Volunteer programs are one way that people can atone for mistakes. Even where people may come from poor backgrounds, the glamour and the spotlight may be too overwhelming. It is always significant to get people back in touch with more unfortunate situations to realize how bad things can be and how to correct problems to achieve better outcomes. That experience is too valuable to deprive from an individual and society.

Fans are the ones that have the ultimate power to hold athletes accountable. Fans support them with tickets, cable subscriptions and buying from advertisers. Society, in general, continues to offer massive financial support to pro sports leagues, even where they bash poor behaviors. In the end, people seem to still need entertainment in times of crisis. Modern life is full of endless war and strife, resulting in refugees in Hungary, Greece and Syria and elsewhere. At the same time, the Washington Post estimated that six million civilians have been killed by US interventions since WWII. We continue to support this carnage with tax dollars, so in some ways fans continuing to pay athletes for violence and cheating makes sense.

From my perspective, such social support shouldn’t make sense. While I am all for rehabilitation programs and giving outlets for the disgraced to continue to be successful, that doesn’t equal paying to support a destructive culture. There is enough entertainment to go around that I can spend my money elsewhere, so I focus on the betterment of society rather than being entertained by how bad boys can be. As long as fans give any attention, there is no room to complain. Athletes may be bad, but then we all are.

Meanwhile, September was the first month in six years that no NFL player was arrested. So, we’re getting somewhere, right?

Sports and Stress: Identifying Athletes’ Needs Off the Field

GBR: FA Respect Pr Shoot - Ray Winstone 23/02/2009

Parents are getting their children involved in playing sports more than ever before. Increasingly, young people are playing organized sports not only in school but through park districts and sport camps. Parents love the many life lessons that can be taught through sport‘s participation such as learning team work, responsibility, and being physically active.

However, 51% of youth athletes quit organized sport by the age of 15 years of age. Researchers are finding that some sports environments are linked to mental health problems for athletes, and these problems are pushing young people out of sports or it is making playing sports a less enjoyable experience.

When issues present themselves off the playing field, parents may want to ask, “Is it time to get help outside the lines or do we need professional help for our athlete?” Coming to this realization can be very scary for parents. The worry of not knowing what to do or how to help your child can be an uncomfortable place for parents to be in.

We get treated for colds, flu, sprained knees and ankles why not take the same approach when needing treatment for anxiety, depression, and adjustment issues, etc. All of these ailments must be treated by professionals. Parents should not allow fear or stigma to hinder their willingness to get help for a love one who is hurting.

The first risk factor I will focus on as part of a five part series is athletic stress.

Three Types of Stress:

• Traumatic stress is when a major event occurs. An unexpected death or a major accident. In sports it could mean a loss of position on the team or a major injury interrupting playing.

• Stress that is brought on by a sudden negative change. A divorce, job loss or a move. In sports it could be a change of position, losing a starting position or getting a starting position.

• Routine Stress or Sports Stress is related to the pressure of daily responsibilities. Some stressors could be the balancing act of school and sport, high intense practices, game day situations, parents over involvement or coaches win at any cost attitude.

Athletic Stress Management Tips:

• Seek a qualified mental health professional that understands athlete related issues.
• Get treatment for physical health problems.
• Recognize signs of stress in the body, such as changes in sleeping, low energy, mood changes, easily irritated or angry, behavior problems in school and use or increased use of alcohol and other substances.
• Have some family time when you do not talk about sports. Being an athlete can encompass a lot of a young person’s time. Make an effort to have other conversations other than sports.
• Focus on positives in the game not mistakes.
• When mistakes happen during a game parents should to be supportive not critical.
• Create a supportive environment on and off the field.
• Parents must manage their own behavior and attitude before, during and after the game.
• Remember to laugh and have fun.
• Stay encouraging and positive.

With all stress there are both physical and mental health risks; symptoms to look for are headaches, lack of sleep, depressed mood, anger and irritability. Continued exposure to stressors can lead to other health problems such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Often times, we overlook the effects sports can have on athletes of all ages, but parents must ensure sure they are caring for both the physical and mental needs of their children who play sports.

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