Chicago Cubs Team Physicians Recommend a Healthy Diet, Workout Plan to ‘Spring into Shape’
When looking to get their players in shape for baseball season, the Chicago Cubs enlist a medical staff that includes a team of doctors from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The Cubs team physicians â also faculty in the Feinberg Department of Orthopaedic Surgery â ensure the health and safety of the players throughout baseball season and beyond.
Their duties begin with spring training, when the Cubs physicians examine every player in the franchise (from minor to major leaguers) to make sure they are all in shape prior to the start of preseason play. Whether you’re an “old” pro like Derrek Lee or an up-and-comer like Christopher Carpenter, the team physicians deliver the following assessment before giving players the green light to start the season:
- Obtain the player’s medical history and ask what types of activities the player was involved in during the off season.
- Perform a general physical and an orthopaedic exam to confirm that the player is in shape and no medical injuries are present.
- Complete labs, including blood and urine samples and an EKG, to verify the health of the player.
|Stephen Gryzlo, MD, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgeryat Feinberg and head orthopedic physician for the Chicago Cubs.|
Stephen Gryzlo, MD, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery, is entering his seventh year as head orthopedic physician for the Cubs and says that a similar exam is also given to the players at the close of the season. During this exit interview, the physician and player discuss any injuries and a recommended plan for the off season.
“Baseball has become a year-long sport; spring training is no longer the time for players to get in shape,” Gryzlo says. “That’s why the medical staff explains the types of activities each player should be completing in the winter months; we also recommend players follow a healthy diet to maintain their health.”
As an orthopedic surgeon, Gryzlo and his colleagues offer the same care to their patients at Northwestern. While the patients he sees at Northwestern aren’t typically professional athletes like the Cubs players, Gryzlo asserts that the same “get fit” rules apply: working your muscles at a gradual pace will allow you to see the greatest long-term results. To get in shape for spring, Gryzlo suggests the following:
- If you have any uncertainties about your health, especially if you’re an older adult, consult with your physician to see if it’s safe to exercise.
- Take a serious look at your body weight and BMI (body mass index) compared to the standards.
- Cross train by using different muscle groups each day; switch from working the upper extremity to the lower body to the core muscles.
- Follow a reasonable diet/nutritional plan to get to your ideal shape. (Consult with a physician or nutritionist, if necessary.)
“People often try to get at their ideal weight and body image right away, but that’s not the best way to do it,” Gryzlo insists. “Without days off to rest and recover, the muscles become overused and bones begin to break down.”