Although eating healthy and exercising regularly (and properly) will go a long way towards helping you to get fit, none of that is going to do you any good if you continue practicing those lifestyle habits which are going to negatively impact your health. If you do not participate in any of the following please forgive us for preaching to the choir; if you do, however, you are going to need to make some changes as soon as possible or you will be undoing all of your own hard work.
• Drinking. Although a little bit of alcohol never hurt anyone, alcohol in excess causes damage to the liver and contributes to the body’s fat stores. If you regularly go out and get drunk or have three or four beers every night with dinner (beer is a high calorie beverage) you are going to need to make some changes. Substitute water or tea for the beer (coffee if you must) and stay home if you cannot go out without drinking. Remember, your primary objective is to get your body fit as quickly as possible, and it cannot do that if it is constantly forced to concentrate its energy on filtering the alcohol from your system.
• Smoking. You have no doubt heard it all of your life, but we’ll say it again; smoking is extremely harmful on your lungs and has a strong negative effect on your lungs’ capacity for oxygen intake. Although you may not feel these effects throughout the course of your daily activities they will become all too apparent when it comes time to spend ninety minutes running across a soccer field, and the last thing you want to have to do is come out of a game and sit on the sidelines while you attempt to get your breath back because you couldn’t beat the habit.
There are a number of resources available on the market to help smokers to stop smoking, including a number of drugs in pill, patch and gum form that will help you to wean your body off of its nicotine intake so that the cravings are not so strong that you go running back. Talk to your doctor about the program that is right for you.
• Allowing diseases to go untreated. If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes or asthma it is vitally important that you take all available measures to make sure that the disease is being treated to the best of your ability. There are many people with these conditions who frequently forget to take their medication or deliberately partake in foods and activities they shouldn’t that are going to be detrimental to their health due to their condition but brush it off with the argument that a little won’t hurt. When you are playing soccer you are placing an enormous amount of strain on your body, and those conditions which weren’t a “big deal” back when you weren’t playing sports are suddenly going to start exerting a greater effect on your body. If you have not been properly caring for them the end results may be sufficient to cause your body to effectively break down, at best resulting in time spent warming the bench and at worst causing you to spend a couple of days underneath the hawk-like eyes of a nurse at your local hospital who would put Frau (Austin Powers) to shame.
• A sedentary lifestyle. What is a sedentary lifestyle? It’s one where you do not participate in a great deal of activity, and consequently your metabolism isn’t up to speed. When you are simply going about your daily routine this is going to result in fat accumulating on your body; however, when you are participating in a sport it is going to mean that it will be much harder and require a much longer length of time for your body to get into shape than if you were constantly up and around, cleaning your home or taking a walk around the block. Suggestions for an exercise regime were given above; remember, it is going to take more than simply walking into a soccer practice to get you fit and ready to play.
• An unhealthy diet. Again, suggestions for a healthy diet are given above. Remember that every time you place something unhealthy into your body you are making it that much harder for it to perform its natural functions. The idea behind eating is to help your body perform at its top capacity, not to slow it down.