Immuno-game : a new challenge for elite basketball players
by Igor Jukic
The demands of playing basketball at the top level greatly impair the immunity of players. Although scientific evidence and experience suggest a high level of immunity of top basketball players, great caution is needed in consideration and interventions regarding their immunity. This is especially true during the pandemic of the COVID-19 virus. The main risk factors for compromising immunity in top-level basketball players are: strenuous training, psychological stress during the (extreme) training, competition and competition conditions, private life, sleep disturbance and poor nutrition.
All of the above risk factors can be entirely controlled. Part of the control is in the hands of basketball and fitness coaches, doctors, nutritionists and sports psychologists in clubs. However, the most important factor in caring for immunity is the player himself. Virtually every aspect of a player’s life and behavior can positively affect their immune status.
Immuno-game is one of the integral ways that players can use for their lifestyle management that can protect and enhance immunity.
Accept the challenge for stronger immunity !
Let’s play a game: the strength of your immune system depends largely on your lifestyle. Therefore, we challenge you to collect 100 points every day, with at least 20 points from each category.
|Nutrition – fruit||2 portions/day||10|
|Nutrition – vegetables||2 meals/day||10|
|Nutrition – sweets||No consummation||10|
|Nutrition – hydration||Regular water consumption||10|
|Nutrition – alcohol||No consummation||10|
|Listening to music||60 min/day||10|
|Reading books||60 min/day||10|
|Meditation and/or prayer||15 min/day||20|
|Breathing exercises||10 min/day||10|
|Socializing with dear people*||60 min/day||20|
|Helping others||30 min/day||20|
*Socializing with dear people as recommended by your country’s health authorities
Immuno-game is one of the integral ways that players can use for their lifestyle management that can protect and enhance immunity. ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE FOR STRONGER IMMUNITY!
Stress management and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) for basketball players
by Francesco Cuzzolin
Performance consistency during a long and stressful season, it’s one of the main goals for any professional team sport athlete. Stress doesn’t come only from practices and games. Personal and social life, traveling, nutrition and sleeping behaviors are some of the main factors that can influence the amount of total stress that players have to face during their daily tasks. COVID-19’s impact and implications on our personal and professional life have an increased amount of stress. That is why any strategy or procedure that can help quantify the recovery is a very important habit to consider.
Basketball player’s body doesn’t discriminate against the different sources of stress and it’s mainly reacting in the same way, activating the autonomic nervous system (ANS) to maintain homeostasis. Heart rate variability (HRV), the variability that occurs between heartbeats, is a widely employed method to assess cardiac ANS activity, and changes in HRV may be correlated with inflammatory markers. This is why the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the immunity system are intimately linked. Nowadays technology provides many solutions to track HRV, but poor standardization and some methodological inconsistencies can make it difficult to understand what is reported in the scientific literature. It’s very important how data are collected and computed. Only then will be possible to use this information in a useful and profitable way. HRV responds to individual adaptations and knowing how the subject is reacting to any variable can bring meaningful adjustments to his training program or lifestyle.
Is HRV tracking important? Yes, it is, but only if done by respecting measurement accuracy and reliability. As a preventive tool, it can help us understand how to manage stress more healthily. KNOWING IS GOOD, BUT DOING IS ALWAYS BETTER !
Don’t forget to recover
By Julio Calleja Gonzalez
Basketball players must consider other tools/ways to promote their craft by incorporating recovery methods through the strenuous competition calendar (e.g., competitions, travel, hotels, buses, planes, airports, games, reduced practices, media requirements, and sponsor activities). In this sense, the home personal recovery moment is an open window during this unique global situation we are all suffering (COVID-19) while understanding the key factors related to mental addictions provoked by social networks (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.), branding pressures, etc. In this case, some details before sleep (which is probably the most important natural recovery method) should include switching off devices and gadgets. Many of the world’s best athletes care about sleep patterns, given that sleep plays a key role in their performance. The quality and amount of athletes’ sleep per night and appropriate nap breaks provide the unique biological energy for the body and brain.
Consequences of sleep deprivation can negatively alter immune, nutritional, hormonal, sociological and neurological status, and therefore decline their performance. PERSONALIZE YOUR HABITS AND HAVE A LONGER SPORTING CAREER !
Can you fight off COVID-19 with superfoods?
By Sergej M. Ostojic
As the new EuroLeague season has started, COVID-19 remains a hurdle impossible to neglect. Besides following all safety measures to protect ourselves and others in a bustling basketball environment, smart and proper nutrition might be a noteworthy deed to boost basketball players’ immunity, preserve their health and maintain (or even improve) their performance. Although there is little scientific evidence for appropriate nutrition in COVID-19 prevention in basketball, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, juices (cherry and beet), bluefish and whole grains should stay on the top of the list for many players, providing enough water, vitamins, minerals and other plant components to support the immune system. Supplemental vitamin D (2000 units per day), zinc (40 mg per day) and curcumin (1 gram per day) might round off regular meals, but you should avoid megadose, choose reputable brands and keep your doctor/nutritionist informed, or ask him/her for advice.
No golden bullet from the diet will eliminate the virus but those who eat a healthy diet (with all varieties included) appear to have a lower risk of being struck down with this bug. THOSE WHO ALREADY SUFFERED IT WILL HAVE A BIGGER CHANCE FOR FASTER RECOVERY AND RETURN TO PLAY!
Don’t let COVID-19 reduce the variability of your daily life
By Jaime Sampaio
Playing basketball at the highest level requires players to capture and process information in extremely complex and dynamic environments. One of the key skills to achieve success in basketball is related to the ability to adapt responses to unpredictable events. Therefore, several daily-life activities performed outdoors like running, walking, cycling, or just walking, due to the unpredictability of conditions, might allow maintaining interesting levels of attention (in addition to the most common and known effects). Unfortunately, the recent pandemic originated by COVID-19 has confined basketball players to their homes and neighborhoods, thus, increasing the frequency and duration of indoor activities, mostly performed in controlled-environments that are, obviously, less rich in variability. Considering this, players would likely benefit from including in their daily life some time spent in outdoor activities, but in less-familiar environments.
When going to an outdoor walk, run, or other activity, CHOOSE A NEW ROUTE !
Musculoskeletal Consequences of COVID-19
By Baris Kocaoglu
Early studies have indicated that there is also considerable musculoskeletal dysfunction in some patients with COVID-19, although long-term follow-up studies have not yet been conducted. Myalgias and generalized weakness have been reported to occur in one-quarter to one-half of symptomatic patients with COVID-19. Although some data have suggested that the occurrence of muscle pain does not increase with COVID-19 severity, in patients with abnormal computed tomographic (CT) or radiographic imaging of the lungs, myalgias were an important predictive factor for the severity of the overall disease. Early findings in patients with COVID-19 have identified musculoskeletal sequelae associated with this disease. Conservative rehabilitation programs have been shown to improve functional recovery in patients with SARS and are effective in other critical illnesses as well.
A randomized controlled trial of 133 patients with SARS demonstrated that a 6-week progressive aerobic and resistance exercise program, consisting of 60 to 90-minute sessions that occurred 4 to 5 times per week, could be effective in improving strength and function. Compared with baseline, patients who completed the program demonstrated a 10% increase in predicted VO2max, a 17% improvement in grip strength, a 38% increase in shoulder flexion strength, and a 250% increase in hip extension strength.
Basketball players should prepare to recover or to fight COVID-19 like for surgery, by staying fit and healthy, as much as possible. DON’T WAIT TO PREPARE YOURSELF !