Breaks are important for the physical and mental health of athletes, and can mean the difference between first and second place. With the amount of time cheerleaders put into practicing and preparing for routines to perform at competitions, it is important to remember that taking a break is essential. Resting allows your body to recover from difficult workouts, ultimately benefiting you to power up and perform to the best of your ability! Breaks help you prepare both physically and mentally; here are some tips to keep in mind: Don’t Overdo It! Take mini-breaks in between stunting or tumbling, drink some water, maybe take a seat. Mini-breaks will help refuel so you can jump back into it! Breaks can also help prevent injuries. If you are going nonstop with strenuous activities like tumbling, stunting, jumping and dancing, you can easily wear yourself out. Don’t put too much physical pressure on yourself! AVOID: Resting too much. When you or your team start taking too many breaks this can lead to laziness and be counterproductive. Make sure you stay on track to make your routine that much stronger and better. Relax and Refuel H2O. There are few things that the body needs as much as it needs water. The key is to consume the right amount. The more active you are, the more water you should drink. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water in your cheer bag! Hydrate before, during and after practice because: Every system in your body depends on water. 60% of your body weight is water. Water keeps you hydrated, it maintains normal bodily functions and keeps you energized. An absence of water can lead to dehydration and cause fatigue, headaches, muscle weakness, and dizziness. Nutrition. During a break or after a long practice, consuming electrolytes and the right mix of carbohydrates and protein is important for recovering. Making smart choices with nutrition will help boost your performance level. Here are some healthy snack choices to enjoy on your breaks to keep your body running: Protein bars, filled with vitamins and plenty of protein and fiber to keep you energized and full Cottage cheese and fruit Nuts and seeds Grilled chicken breast Hard boiled eggs Veggies and hummus Apples and peanut butter Reward Taking a break eventually results in working towards your personal and team goals. Once those are accomplished, reward yourself and your team! Play a team bonding game that involves using cheerleading skills. Simon Says (using cheer motions) or Ships and Sailors are great for full team involvement.