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    Staying in Shape During Sports Season

    Whatever your sport, these tips can help you stay in shape and avoid injury.
    By
    WebMD Feature
    Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

    It doesn’t matter what your game is. If you want to be at your best -- on the court, on the field, on the rink, wherever -- you need to know how to get your body to perform at its peak.

    Just showing up for practice won’t cut it. You have to get in shape, do what you can to prevent injury, and fuel your body with healthy foods. Here’s how.

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    Fit to Play

    First things first. Before the season even starts, you should already be in shape.

    “A lot of youth don’t think they need to get in shape,” says James Chesnutt, MD, a sports medicine specialist at Oregon Health & Sciences University. “They are couch potatoes right up to the first day of practice.”

    Don’t let that be you. Practice is going to put a lot of strain on your muscles. Games are even more intense. You have to be prepared. Think about baseball. If you’re a pitcher and your arm isn’t up to the task, your game might not be the only thing to suffer. A weak arm is an easily injured arm.

    Chesnutt, who coaches teen sports in Portland, Ore., tells his players that they need to start working out six weeks prior to the season, putting in an hour’s worth of exercise a day (something everyone should be doing already). That means a mix of lifting, cardio training, and active play that revs your heart.

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