Professional athletes going half-speed, and the dangers of overtraining

With the NBA playoffs now upon us, do basketball players go all out, all the time?

Not necessarily.

Over at Better Health, Nick DeNubile, orthopedic consultant to the Philadelphia 76ers, says that there’s “an important distinction between going half-speed and being tentative. If you’re tentative ““ in any sport at any time ““ that’s when you risk injury.”

The key is staying relaxed, and Dr. DeNubile notes that the best athletes can go partial speed and still stay relaxed.

The NBA season, in particular, can last three-quarters of a year, and there’s no way most players can play 100 percent every night without a significant risk of injury. Having some “low-intensity nights” may be necessary to reduce that risk.

Your body breaking down is an inherent danger to over-training. Taking a week off from exercise and finding that your morning heart rate drops 10 to 15 percent, or waking up and still feeling tired, are two signs that that may be happening.

Of course, in the midst of the obesity epidemic, that doesn’t really apply to most Americans.