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    Physical Fitness Impact on Psychological Mindset

    By Richard Smith

    Every sport requires a certain level of physical fitness especially as you reach the professional ranks of your sport. However the physical benefits are nothing compared to the mental benefits that can be gained for a player through exercise. In this blog we will look at how you can perform at your peak and the physical fitness impact on psychological mindset.

    Heart rate is understood to be a great indication of someone’s general level of fitness. This is due to the fact that the healthier someone is, the lower the resting heart rate will likely be. And as such the longer it takes them to reach their maximum heart rate. Heart rate also plays an impact in the decision making and performance of an athlete under pressure, with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination being impacted in a negative way by just a small increase in heart rate.

    However, there are ways to control heart rate and avoid spikes occurring. One such way is through slowing your breathing manually,  this allows more oxygen to enter the body and reduces your heart rate in the process. This will help you to execute any skill better, whether shooting pool or lining up a drop kick; slow your world down with some deep breaths and slower exhalations. Another way to control heart rate is to splash yourself with cold water. The water stimulates the dive reflex which is responsible for your metabolism.

    A heart rate in the range of 115 to 145bpm puts you in something referred to as the ‘combat-performance zone’. Rugby players spend most of their time operating in this range. In this ‘combat zone’ fine motor skills suffer, while complex motor skills – which controls the coordination of muscle groups in the performing of a series of movements at the right time are at their peak. For a rugby player this includes actions such as hand offs or juking tackles. Rugby players feel comfortable in this range and are referred to being ‘in the zone’ once they reach this phase. This is due to their high levels of fitness which allows them to operate in this zone for a prolonged period. Meanwhile normal people’s heart rates would be off the scale after just a few minutes of frantic high-level sport.

    Once the heart rate gets above 155bpm these complex skills start to deteriorate; this is to something referred to as a ‘sensory shutdown’. The physical exertion causes their complex motor skills to decrease. Once heart rates reach 175bpm the impact of this ‘sensory shutdown’ starts to affect a person’s awareness, leading their peripheral vision and hearing to decrease.

    In extreme conditions, the heart rate can raise above the 175bpm mark. This is something referred to as ‘fight-or-flight mode’. This can be beneficial in certain circumstances. If we must run to defend ourselves it can be the difference between 2 very different scenarios. This state is referred to as ‘red mist’. This state is used extremely often in particularly aggressive sport such as boxing or MMA due to the nature of the activities.

    This ‘red mist’ can descend outside of a sporting environment and occurs to many people. Often when our decision-making has deserted us leading us to become angry at someone in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    In this blog we looked at the physical fitness impact on psychological mindset. If this has been at all helpful and you want to learn about other blogs from the School of Kicking click the link below as we help people to #KickItWhenItCounts.

     

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