Helping athletes cope during pandemic


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The pandemic has left an impact on many people’s normal routines. For some athletes, that means missing practice or even part of a season.

Athletes who have had to cut their season short or miss out on practice time may be handling the situation in an unhealthy way.

“I think the big idea around this was are we seeing more athletes coming out with disordered eating habits or eating disorders during the pandemic? And I would definitely say yes. And I think that there’s a couple of reasons why,” Lizzie Kasparek said.

When a season is disrupted registered dietitian Lizzie Kasparek says it can lead to a sense of losing control. In turn, athletes may shift their focus on something they can control- such as food or exercise.

“It definitely could be things like binge eating as well as restriction. So restriction could be, well I’m not practicing as much, so I don’t need to eat lunch,” Kasparek said.

In addition to diet changes, Jesse Haines says some athletes may be overtraining in an effort to stay fit.

“Over training is, it happens often and you want to be aware of how you feel when fatigue sets in, that’s the first sign of over training,” Haines said.

While it may be tough to simulate an actual practice on your own, he says there are healthy ways to keep your skills sharp.

Athletes can supplement missed practices by incorporating home workouts, using at home equipment or even items laying around the house.

“You want to recreate the velocities, move the weight fast, light fast, and create some power. That’s the easiest or the best way to recreate actual sport,” Haines said.

But if an athlete finds themselves obsessing over diet and exercise, don’t be ashamed.
Instead reach out for help.

“There’s a fine line between pushing through a mental block and then hurting yourself in an over training situation,” Haines said.

“There’s a lot of medical conditions that come along with that eating disorder that, without that treatment, those are, could be long term health consequences to having an eating disorder,” Kasparek said.

Athletes experiencing trouble with their diet or over training can go to national eating disorders dot org for resources and support.

For a link to the website, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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