The Importance of Fitness and Safety in Cheerleading

By: Carolyn Fallon
Check out more work by Carolyn by visiting her blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/!

Anyone who thinks cheerleading is easy has obviously not tried it. Today’s cheerleading routines are extremely demanding and athletic, requiring amazing amounts of strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance. Training for cheerleading should always include some form of aerobics and strength training. Also, safety is a constant concern. If you are deficient in any area, you are putting yourself and others at risk.

It seems that every year cheerleading routines become more and more complex, more athletic, and more risky. There are moves underway now to improve safety for cheerleading routines and related activities. For now, be sure to train mindfully to avoid any hazards.

Actions Cheerleaders Can Take To Prevent Injuries:

Resistance Training:

Some type of resistance training will keep your weight under control and give you the strength to perform more advanced routines. You will also want to be sure that you always include a good stretching and warm-up session before your workouts, which will help prevent injury, both major and small.

Yoga:

Yoga is a great exercise for cheerleaders because it is low impact in nature while also providing a good strenuous workout. Due to the typical benefits of yoga being increased strength, flexibility, and balance, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Glen Axelrod states that many professional teams are integrating yoga into their regular training sessions. Additionally, yoga is known to also increase one’s core strength and focus, as well as decrease emotional states of stress and anxiety.

Proper Training:

It is always important to be training properly, in proper conditions, with proper training, observed by certified coaches. Be sure that you perform your stunts on mats to provide cushioning for falls. You will also want to maintain an atmosphere that allows you to focus. A certified and trained coach should be on hand at all times to ensure that safety is always being monitored and heeded.

Diet:

In addition to your training and exercise regimen, maintaining a diet is vitally important. For one thing, you will need to provide enough healthy fuel to provide energy for your routines and exercise. You will also want to eat the right kinds of foods so that you maintain lean muscle mass, while avoiding fatty foods that don’t provide any nutritional value.

Be sure that you are eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. The fruits will ensure that you are getting plenty of carbohydrates to fuel your workouts. Try to avoid getting sugar in the form of sodas and sugared drinks. These types of drinks tend to cause rapid increases in blood sugar. This can lead to weight gain.

Getting your carbs in the form of fruit also ensures that you are getting plenty of fiber in your diet. Fiber helps you keep from putting on weight in the form of fat. The reason fiber helps prevent weight gain is that it takes longer for your body to digest. You will also need to make sure you getting enough lean protein. Protein is the building block for muscle. Avoid meats like red meat and beef. They tend to have adequate protein but at a cost. They too often have high levels of unhealthy fat. This fat can clog your veins and prevent your heart from working at full capacity.

Some good choices for lean protein are turkey, skinless chicken, and most fish. Also, many nuts have good amounts of protein combined with good fiber. Walnuts, pecans, cashews, and sunflower seeds are good choices, and are an easy snack to keep with you for when you are hungry but it’s not meal-time yet. They also tend to be high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. One thing to be careful of, however, is high levels of salt, which can be found on certain types of nuts, such as peanuts.

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has known to bust some serious mves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/!

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2 thoughts on “The Importance of Fitness and Safety in Cheerleading

  1. I’m glad that you talked about making sure a cheerleader is in a place where they can focus, so they are less likely to be injured. My daughter wants to start cheer leading and I wasn’t sure how she could stay safe. I can see how being in a place where she can focus will help her not try anything that could seriously injure her.

    • It is definitely something to consider when choosing a cheer program. If you are planning on doing club (all-star) cheerleading, visit multiple ones in your city and observe the atmosphere of the gym. Is it structured an seem to be running smoothly? Or is there chaos, kids everywhere, who seem to be doing more “hanging out” than “working out,” and a total sensory overload? I’ve seen both kinds of programs. So do your research!!

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