India’s fastest female ice speed-skater, Shruti Kotwal has emphasized the importance of maintaining a healthy mental balance for women in sports.
Shruti, who is currently training in the United States for the upcoming Dessert Classic and America Cup, said the championships are scheduled to be held later this month and athletes from all over the world are training physically and mentally to win a place in the podium in their respective categories.
Shruti, who moved out of the comfort of her home in India early in life to get access to world-class training facilities and faced challenges like homesickness, loneliness, and culture shocks, said besides physical training and nutrition, there is an equal need to keep one’s mental health in check, informed a release on Monday.
Commenting on this aspect of a sportsperson, especially a woman’s life, Shruti said, “Mental health is as important as physical health. Lack of knowledge and not having enough awareness about mental health in my younger days hampered my physical health too and naturally affected my performance.”
“Now I take care of my mental health by trying to maintain a balance between my personal and professional life. Taking breaks to recharge and regularly do little things in my day-to-day life like pursuing stress-busting hobbies. Trying to have a little social life and making friends outside the world of sports can be restful and a good change for the mind,” she said.
“A healthy balance between work and life will increase the shelf life of an athlete! Enjoying the sport sounds cliche but it is imperative,” Shruti added.
Shruti has consciously inculcated yoga and breathing exercises in her schedule. “In ice speed-skating, you are racing against the clock. You are trying to beat your own timing so your biggest competitor is yourself. Getting faster with each race means getting better timing and that is a personal accomplishment each time you get a personal best. This can take a toll on the minds of a lot of athletes and they end up living in a lot of anxiety and nervousness most of the time,” she said.
She added, “I try to incorporate yoga into my week as and when I get time. It helps relax my mind as well as my body. If I am exhausted after really hard workouts, I ensure practicing breathing exercises and meditation to calm down and increase my lung capacity.”