If you have ever watched a boxing match or a mixed martial arts contest, you may have marveled at the skill of the competitors and their high degree of fitness. Chances are, you have also wondered how they care for their physical well-being before and after a bout so they can maintain their physiological and neurological health. Think about the last time you bumped your head accidentally. Remember how sore you were, how long it took you to recover as well as for the discoloration to disappear. Imagine, instead of one minor injury, you got into a ring with someone who hit you repeatedly, attempting to incapacitate you. How long would it take to get past an experience like that? How would you prevent injury and hasten healing?
Fighters Start With Excellent Fitness
Long before a boxer or mixed martial artist gets into the ring, he or she has gone through an extensive regimen of training. Extreme calisthenics, long-distance aerobic training, weight training and continual sparring make up the physical aspect of training. These athletes also strive to eat properly and use supplements that have proven most effective for the health of athletes. While you probably do not want to spar with a professional fighter or engage in powerlifting, you can check out some of these dietary benefits for yourself. You may want to read some of the Le-vel Thrive reviews.
Professionals Know How to Protect Themselves in the Ring
Once the contest begins, the fighter inside the ring has been schooled on protecting herself or himself. While it may not be apparent—indeed, the fight may seem like a brawl—the skilled fighter covers the most vulnerable parts of the body and offers less injury-prone parts to the opponent while searching for the ideal spot to land a blow. Endless sparring practice has enabled the fighter to accept the pain inflicted without panicking or abandoning the fight plan. Fighters also know that the accumulation of blows has the effect of sapping one’s endurance. Thus, those in the ring are judging how long they can absorb punches or kicks and continue to fight effectively.
Keeping Your Head in the Game
Obviously, the most important part of the body to protect and most subject to significant injury is the head. Every form of boxing and mixed martial arts has guidelines intended to protect a fighter’s head from serious injury. Whether a fighter gets knocked out or not, there can be cumulative damage as a result of head strikes. In such a case, as with many other sports, a concussion protocol is followed. These sports require that a fighter demonstrate full recovery from head injuries and refrain from bouts until cleared by a physician. The CDC has a useful recovery program for those who have suffered a concussion, which is technically called a mild-TBI (traumatic brain injury). Repeated mild-TBIs present a greater risk of lasting injury to the fighter.
RICE is the Recipe for Body Healing
Of course, the head is not the only part of the body that can sustain injuries during a fight. There is no actual preparation the muscles, bones and joints can follow to avoid sustaining injury. Thus, when bruises and lacerations occur, the principal concern is how to heal from them in the quickest, most complete manner. This is where RICE comes in handy:
- Rest. After any sort of tear, bruise or cut, the affected area is more sensitive to further injury. Subjecting tissue to more stress or contact will only slow healing.
- Ice. This is most important in the first couple of days after an injury. It helps with pain and decreases inflammation.
- Compression. An elastic bandage helps immobilize the injured area and prevents the buildup of excess fluid.
- Elevation. When possible, keep the injury at the same level or above your heart. This minimizes swelling and fluid retention.
Boxing has long been called “the sweet science.” There is also plenty of science involved in keeping fighters healthy.
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks, and DIY. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
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