Tips From The NBA’s Live Healthy Week

NBA FIT Live Healthy Week 2014 may have recently wrapped up, but there are still plenty of lessons to be learned about getting and staying healthy from it. Over a dozen NBA and WNBA players, both past and present, teamed up with NBA Cares and a handful of celebrity chefs to dish out fitness and nutrition tips that can come in handy if you’re an aspiring NBA player (or just want to lose a few pounds). Some players held inspiring basketball clinics for kids, while the chefs offered up recipes for game-day fuel. Here are some of the most useful tips we’ve learned.

Work hard: Basketball conditioning should combine movements
Using the workout Dwayne Wade released during the week as an example, the best conditioning regimens combine exercises that increase flexibility, core strength, stability and power all at once, because any one of them might be needed at any given time on the court. This particularly great exercise engages your leg and core muscles with a jumping motion. Position two solid platforms (such as gym mats stacked to about chair height) four feet from one another. Stand on one and jump to the floor between them. When you reach the bottom of the movement, flex your knees and immediately jump onto the opposite platform to increase your explosiveness. If you can handle this exercise, you can handle most basketball injuries that affect the legs. As you get stronger, add height safely—for context, the 6’4” player jumps between platforms just above his waist.

Eat well: Simple cooking is a recipe for health

If the recipes offered up by the likes of Rachel Ray, Mario Batali, Candice Kumai and Nikki Shaw taught us anything, it’s that eating healthily can be as easy as simplifying your food choices. Most of these recipes use five or less main ingredients, and yet hit on all the food groups. For a gameday breakfast, should consider getting a carb kick with a simple recipe for multi-grain berry pancakes (making them is quicker than you think). For a post-workout breakfast, however, load on the protein with a one-pan spinach frittata. For dinner, a high-carb option is whole wheat spaghetti with cauliflower-walnut pesto, while a simple plate of herbed grilled chicken offers a high-protein, low-fat meal.
Be well: Incorporate fitness into your everyday routine
Don’t have time for a workout everyday? No problem. A morning should begin the same way every time, and that’s with a good bit of stretching. It increases flexibility and range of motion, keeping you injury-free on the hardwood. Even better, it also improves your posture and enhances coordination when you’re playing basketball. You may also be tempted to catch a ride to practice, but there’s a good chance you can make it on foot and burn some calories. Get some easy exercise in by taking the path less traveled — climb the stairs instead of riding the elevator, pound the sidewalk instead of taking a car.

Here are our favourite photos from NBA FIT Live Healthy Week 2014.

Photo: Michelle Obama/Twitter

Members of the Miami Heat meet the FLOTUS herself, Michelle Obama, and chat about the need for healthy eating. Obama helped spearhead the Let’s Move! program to get schools active.


Photo: Wizards Girls/Twitter

Even team staff got in on the action. The Wizards cheerleaders dressed up in old-school workout gear to commemorate the health awareness week.


Photo: Cleveland Cavaliers/Twitter

Players wore bright red NBA FIT shooting shirts during the week, which lasted Jan. 3-10.


Photo: LA Clippers/Twitter

The NBA worked especially hard to get kids in the mix. Teams across the basketball-playing nation held clinics to teach kids core basketball skills, as well as giving them the tools they need to eat healthily.


Photo: NBA Cares/Twitter

Denver Nuggets coach Brian Shaw showed fans that even management tries to stay fit.


Photo: Detroit Pistons/Twitter

The Detroit Pistons are seen sporting the FIT gear as they walk out during a game.


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