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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS AND OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE IN SPORTS

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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS AND OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE IN SPORTS: A CASE STUDY OF DELTA STATE SPORTS COUNCIL

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Sports have been regarded as an integral part of the society. According to Sage, (2007) sports can also be described as activities involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or for the purpose of entertainment. Sports may have the tendency if well organized to change the entire human personality (whole-man) through active and passive participation. Such components of personality that sports are capable of transforming include: physical, social, moral, mental, and emotional (Agbomi, 2012). Sports can be termed as well organized and institutionalized physical activities with structured programmes governed with rules and regulations (Edim 2011). In other words, Odigbo (2000) sees sports as a form of education through a well planned programme of physical activities enhances endurance, fitness, optimum speed and flexibility that aims at meeting with maximum development of the whole individual (physically, socially, mentally, morally and emotionally).

This is to say that optimum performance in sport involves the development of a well integrated individual having a sound mind in a healthy body, who is also socially sound living within the recommended dietary supplement. Physical fitness is a physiological state of well-being that provides the foundation for the tasks of daily living, a degree of protection against chronic disease and a basis for participation in sport. In essence, physical fitness describes a set of attributes relating to how well one performs physical activity. For an individual to continually improve their physical fitness, there must be gradual progressive overload in the amount of physical activity. Hence, Regular physical activity is one of the most important things one can do for his/her health.   Physical fitness is a general state of health and well-being and, more specifically, the ability to perform aspects of sports, occupations and daily activities. Physical fitness is generally achieved through proper nutrition, moderate-vigorous physical exercise, physical activity and sufficient rest (Tremblay, Colley, Saunders, Healy and Owen, (2010).It is important to make the distinction between health-related physical fitness and athletic performance physical fitness. Health-related physical fitness refers specifically to those components of physical fitness associated with some aspect of good health and/or disease and not necessarily sports performance (Malina, 2010).

On the other hand, athletic performance physical fitness is that portion of physical fitness directed towards optimizing performance in a certain sport - each sport will require a balance of different facets of fitness for optimal performance. For example, gymnastics requires a high degree of agility and flexibility whereas competitive long distance swimming requires a high degree of aerobic fitness. The adaptations within the body as a result of training for specific sports will almost always confer significant health benefits also on the athletes concerned (Juhn, 2003).   Dietary supplements refers to any “product” intended to supplement the diet that contains one or more dietary ingredients such as; vitamins, minerals, herbs, meal supplements, sports nutrition products, natural food supplements, and other related products used to boost the nutritional content of the diet (Burke, Cort and Cox, 2006). The human daily meals are not enough to boost our strength in intense sports activities. Sports supplements can provide an easy way to improve our health and build and maintain muscle mass, endurance, and power. Using carbohydrate diets containing electrolytes can hydrate the body during sporting events. Injury prevention and enhanced recovery are important benefits of using sports nutrition supplements (Dickson, 2002).

Many athletes use different dietary supplements for a variety of reasons especially to boost optimum performance. Among the most popular products are ergogenic aids such as sports drinks, minerals, caffeine, Coenzyme Q10, and creatine to enhance physical performance and to tolerate pain (Naylor, Gardner, and Zaichkowsky, 2004). Optimizing training through provision of well-timed nutrients and/or use of various effective nutritional guides can help optimize performance and/or training adaptations as adequate nutritional is characterized with good alertness, excellent natured personality, a well-developed body, with normal weight for height.

Statement of the Problem

Dietary supplements are used by athletes worldwide. Millions of us take vitamins and dietary supplements hoping to achieve good health, ease our illnesses or defy ageing. Athletes carry a lot of performance pressure and want to be competitive hence are pronged into frequent intake of dietary supplements. Due to the lack of regulations and the increasing consumption of supplements, it is very important to understand behavioral factors that may influence the consumption of these products. Excess intake has been shown to lead to serious health consequences and some supplements have even been implicated as the cause of death and disability when used improperly. Hence, it is pertinent to ask the question; what is the relationship between dietary supplement and optimum sports performance?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to examine the relationship between dietary supplement and optimum performance in sports among athletes in Delta State Sports Council. The study specifically seeks to ascertain the following:

1.  To find out the relationship between dietary supplement and endurance.

2.  To find out the relationship between dietary supplement and body composition.

3.  To find out the relationship between dietary supplement and optimum speed.

4.  To find out the relationship between dietary supplement and reduced fatigue.

5.  To find out the relationship between dietary supplement and flexibility.

Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide this study;

1.  What is the relationship between dietary supplement and endurance?

2.  What is the relationship between dietary supplement and body composition?

3.  What is the relationship between dietary supplement and optimum speed?

4.  What is the relationship between dietary supplement and reduced fatigue?

5.  What is the relationship between dietary supplement and flexibility?

Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated to guide this study;

1.  There is no relationship between dietary supplement and endurance.

2.  There is no relationship between dietary supplement and body composition.

3.  There is no relationship between dietary supplement and optimum speed.

4.  There is no relationship between dietary supplement and reduced fatigue.

5.  There is no relationship between dietary supplement and flexibility.

Significance of the Study

This study would be useful in highlighting the relationship between dietary supplement and optimum performance in sports and thus be beneficial to students, athletes, educators, government and policy makers to know why dietary supplements are used by athletes, whether they work and whether they’re safe as well as evaluate some of the issues surrounding dietary supplements and sports performance and also to look at a selection of evidence on some of the most popular supplements in use by athletes today. The result outcome will benefit the public and sports administrators in Delta State sports council to know what is expected of them as sports administrators and the consequences associated impact of dietary supplement and its relationship in boosting sports performance while enumerating strategies to curb the negative effects associated with dietary supplement.

Finally, the study is also hoped to contribute to the body of knowledge in general by providing a light to future researchers who may wish to further their investigation on similar topic. The information obtained from the primary and secondary data of this research will provide link and facilitate further researches on knowledge of dietary supplements as it relate to optimal performance.

Scope/Delimitation of the Study

The study seeks to examine the relationship between dietary supplement and optimum performance in sports. Independent variables addressed by this study are endurance, body composition, optimum speed, reduced fatigue and flexibility while the dependent variable is optimum performance. The study is delimited in scope to male and female athletes of the Delta State Sports council as a case study. Questionnaires would be designed and used in data collection while descriptive and inferential statistics would be employed as method for data analysis. 

Definition of Terms

The following terms are operationally defined as used in this study;

Supplement: This refers to something added to complete or make up for a deficiency or extend or strengthen the whole.

Dietary Supplement: These are product intended to alternate diet. They contain vitamins, minerals, plant material. They can be found in pill, capsule, tablet or liquid form and are used to supplement (add to) the diet, but they are not be considered a substitute for food.

Sports: It is a form of education through a well planned programme of physical activities that aims at meeting with maximum development of the whole individual such as; physically, socially, mentally, morally and emotionally).

Performance: refers to how well an athlete accomplishes the different tasks during sports competition. It entails the accomplishment of a given task measured against preset known standards of accuracy, completeness, cost, and speed.

Athletes: This refers to a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.

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