When it comes to sports, maintaining one’s physical health is critically important. Everyone wants to be at their physical best when playing a game, as the difference between a healthy player and an unhealthy player can make all the difference when it comes to winning in triumph or suffering a devastating defeat. Therefore, when it comes to sports management (or pengurusan sukan in Malay), many theories have been concocted as to how athlete’s can buff up their physical performance for a game – but are all these theories really true?
The problem is, a lot of popular ‘health tips’ for athletes are actually just popular myths; and, rather than buffing you up, can actually be quite detrimental to your health in the long run. Unfortunately, for people who never took a sports science course (or a kursus sains sukan in Malay), it can be very difficult to distinguish which myths are true and which are actually jarringly false.
Therefore, for burgeoning athletes who don’t have a sports health manager or people who are currently considering career opportunities in sports (or peluang kerjaya dalam bidang sukan in Malay), here are 3 popular health myths in sports that are actually untrue!
1. ‘Drinking More Water During Sports Makes You Healthier’
This is a myth that’s not only incredibly popular, but also surprisingly and blatantly untrue – as well as dangerous.
There’s a common misconception that drinking more water while you’re exercising will make you healthier in the long-run – and it’s easy to see why. After all, while you exercise, you lose a lot of water via sweat; so some people imagine that drinking water while exercising can help replace the lost water and keep you healthy and hydrated (this is an especially common occurrence in endurance sports like marathon running, as well as in athletes who routinely overexert themselves in hot conditions).
Unfortunately, athletes who believe and do this often end up consuming too much water to replace the fluids lost, leading to hyperhydration or ‘water intoxication’. This is a condition which happens when you consume too much water which, rather than improve your game performance, actually leads to detrimental symptoms such as nausea, disorientation, and even vomiting. In severe cases, water intoxication can even lead to death – though deaths due to water intoxication are often pretty rare.
2. ‘Taking Steroids Can Improve Your Game Performance’
This myth is somewhat true – certain steroids, called anabolic steroids, can in fact, improve game performance by increasing an athlete’s muscle mass. It’s the consequences of taking them, however, that earns this belief a place on this list.
Even considering the fact that steroids are illegal in certain places without a doctor’s prescription, taking too many steroids can have some serious health side effects. Steroids are themselves sometimes an addictive drug, which as such can induce drug dependency in those who use them too often. Furthermore, other symptoms of using too many steroids may also include things like liver abnormalities, high blood pressure, psychiatric disorders, and even behavior changes such as increased aggression and anger. In other words, anabolic steroids can increase your muscle mass and strength when it comes to winning a game – but considering all these aftereffects, are they really worth the risk?
3. ‘Being Physically Fit Means Having Visible Abs and Muscle’
This is a very popular misconception that, unfortunately, has major roots in things such as fatphobia and toxic masculinity in our current society. There’s a reigning and incredibly harmful idea that one is only at their physical ‘peak’ when they have visible, rippling muscles – but that itself is not only a false claim, but an incredibly detrimental one to both physical and mental health.
In truth, people with rippling muscles (usually seen glamorized by actors in the media and magazines) are usually hardly at their physical peak. Rather, having six-pack abs and a lean, muscular build are often unsustainable physical states; requiring many actors and bodybuilders to do harmful things to their body such as losing water weight, fasting for unhealthy periods of time, and other such detrimental requirements. Unfortunately, seeing this supposedly ‘strong’, ripped actors on the media not only furthers the harmful rhetoric that thin + muscular = healthy and strong, but also instills negative self-esteem in people who see these allegedly ‘physically ideal’ bodies in the media and wonder why their own bodies cannot look the same.
Therefore, with all these health myths abound, it is important to educate the public to ensure that these harmful suppositions will not cause any athlete any further harm upon themselves.
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