As part of MedStar Health's "Live Healthy" Month, we asked a couple of the Washington Capitals to give some healthy tips for youth hockey players.
"Play other sports in the summer I think that helps a lot with developing the body and staying in shape like coordination, things like that but also competing. I think other sports are probably a good tip. Also try to eat as many plants as possible thats what I have always been told."
"I think the biggest thing is definitely sleep. I think when you're getting your 8-10 hours it definitely helps a lot. It helps the body recover and I think thats the biggest key to having success. Other than that, I think also eating habits, wherever I guess you can lessen the carbs and get more of the protein in there and stuff that really helps your body develop and recover after games for sure. I think just maintaining a good healthy lifestyle, working out, and I think making sure you focus on the little things, I think that helps a lot too, but I think the biggest thing for me is sleep. During the off season I'd probably say my eating habits are the best. I try to eliminate all the junk food, all the sugars, and keep the sugar intake low per day and make sure I get all my proteins in and all the vegetables I need to kinda rejuvenate the body to feel good in the summer."
"When I was a youth I didn't have much knowledge of that so it's kinda nice that I do now. I mean you need a lot more food as a kid and stuff. Make sure you're eating vitamins, your vegetables and stay away from sugar. I think sugar addiction is the biggest thing you have to kinda fight through in our culture. Every time there's a healthy alternative it doesn't have to be super crazy, just be conscious and learn about it. Knowledge is the big thing, learn as much as you can about nutrition about what's good or bad for you. Soak it in when you're young so you remember it when you're older and when you don't burn off things as quickly as you used to.
In the off season I go back home live in the lake in the middle of nowhere, cook my food and simplify it. I wish I had the time to grow vegetables and stuff like that.
With the internet now it's not hard, you just have to put in the conscious effort. I think you got to be careful of what you read, there's a lot of things out there that are the next fad. Stay away from fads and stick to knowledge and proven knowledge like simple basics of foods and what's good for your intakes. I think that's probably my biggest advice you don't want to get stuck in the newest crazy thing because its always replaced by the next one."
"I think at that age they can almost eat whatever they want most of them but try to stay away from the sugars and the snacks. Try to eat three meals a day, I know that can be harder said than done for most of us. I know when I was that age I used to graze a lot. I think they probably get enough exercise playing hockey as it is so they are probably pretty set on that. I think just play as many sports as possible and enjoy it.
Eating for sure [helps the most during the offseason] but at that age its chicken fingers, macaroni and pizza most the time. So eating and then rest, I think that the kids when they wanna play they should play and when they want to rest they should take a nap."
Additonally, MedStar Health has provided some healthy living tips for Capitals fans of all ages:
- Schedule a physical with your primary care physician once a year.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
- Simple activity like finding the furthest parking spot when you go to the grocery store or work is a great way to incorporate some moderate activity to your week.
- Simple household chores like vacuuming or laundry is a great way to incorporate some moderate activity to your week.
- Eat slowly - your body takes up to 20 minutes before realizing you're full. Slow down and savor your meal to avoid overeating.
- Try to eat fruits and vegetables with every meal.
- Squats while brushing teeth
- Hamstring curls and calf raises while standing at desk/waiting for microwave
- Pushups on wall or high countertop
- Isometric abdominal contractions or torso twists while sitting at desk or in car at stoplight
- Knee extension/can-can kick exercises seated at desk
Tricks to get in exercise/reduce prolonged sitting/time management strategies:
- Set timer on computer or watch to "ding" every 30 minutes to trigger movement or stretch
- Use online grocery order to pick up instead of time spent slowly shopping
- Get fitness partner at work for mini-workouts
- Use commercials, half-time, microwave, waiting on hold time for mini-workouts
- App or watch for fitness tracking (and telling how much time spent on gaming/social medial apps)