Imagine getting thrown to the ground and sacked multiple times during football practice. Combine that with poor test scores and a heaping pile of homework, and you could be in a pretty depressed mental state. Like everyone else, student-athletes experience physical and mental ups and downs—from the emotional highs that follow a big win or an aced final exam to the physical lows of getting knocked to the ground by an opposing linebacker or falling on the slick turf after being faked out on the soccer field.
Mental lows can be a detriment to future athletic performance and a negative influence on grades in the classroom.
Exercise is a terrific way to beat stress and combat a bad mood. The sports adage “walk it off” after a minor collision on the field is also sage advice for soothing emotional distress. Sitting and sulking after a tough loss or a bad test grade in no way constitutes a remedy. Vigorous exercise—whether hitting the weight room for some Deadlifts, Squats, Push-Ups, or Pull-Ups, or heading to the track for sprints or a brisk walk—stimulates endorphins, which helps elevate mood.
To overcome a poor performance and beat the blues, incorporate the workout below. It comprises combo exercises that can elevate your mood and literally help you get back on your feet by strengthening the muscles required for quickly rising and running after you land on your back, hips, side, or stomach. By performing the combo exercises back to back with little rest, you will boost the intensity of the workout and increase your endurance—a critical element for improving sports performance. The short rest between sets also helps you adapt to the brief stoppages during games.
- Moderately heavy dumbbell or kettlebell (70-80% 1RM)
- Water bottle
- Hydrate before, during, and after the workout.
- Perform a proper warm-up before and cooldown after the workout.
- Rest 15-30 seconds between sets and 45-60 seconds between exercise combos.
1A. Turkish Get-Up: Lie on your back while holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in your right hand above your right shoulder. Stand up while continuing to hold the weight above your shoulder and keeping your elbow locked out. Perform five repetitions.
1B. Sprints: Following the last rep, hold the weight at chest level and sprint 40 yards. Backpedal 40 yards to the start.
* Repeat this series three more times for a total of four sets alternating arms for each set.
2A. Superman: Lie on your stomach with arms and legs outstretched. Raise both arms and legs off the ground.
2B. Planks: Immediately move to a plank position, resting on your forearms placed shoulder-width apart.
2C. Burpees: Move into a push-up position on your hands. Perform an explosive Push-Up, then explosively thrust your legs toward your elbows landing in a squatting position before jumping up in the air.
2D. Cariocas: Without rest, perform Cariocas laterally to the right for 40 yards then back to the starting position.
* Repeat this series four more times without rest to complete the set. Take a 30-second break before performing two more sets.
Sports and academic performance can put a strain on competitive athletes, causing mood swings following major successes or letdowns. Through exercise, athletes can boost mood-elevating endorphins and improve their mental attitude, leading to better performance on the field and in the classroom.