Surprise! I’m a Competitive Athlete Again!

I didn’t think becoming a competitive athlete would happen again!

I share my journey as an athlete in this article.

Sometimes, things just happen, and you can choose to go with the flow! 😉

How it happened

Since recovering from hip surgery, I have been playing more and more padel (a very up and coming sport, a mix between tennis and squash). As a former tennis player, this is a sport that felt immediately attractive and fun to get into it.

Starting in a social way, playing with friends here and there, I then joined a padel club which decided to form a women’s team and participate in a league. I played several competitions, and also did a scouting tournament for the German national team. One day, while on vacation, I receive a call from the German Coach, telling me she nominated for the upcoming European Championships.

I got in! Fast forward to a couple months later, I was playing in Portugal for Team Germany!

Pure joy, excitement and pride, looking back at the start of my journey post AS diagnosis and hip surgery.

From initial doubts...

Based on my experience over the years, it felt like competitive sports and too intensive sports were not the right thing for my body and to manage my AS anymore. It seemed to be just increasing the inflammatory processes. It was taking me a long time to recover post exercise, I would feel store, have achy joints, and feel like I needed many more hours of sleep than I was getting. I also had doubts about the long-term impact of too intensive sports. Would this accelerate the progression of my AS? Was my hip problem due to too much strain from sports? Should I be more gentle with how I move my body?

...to confident in my approach

While I had all these questions, deep down, I trusted those feelings that playing competitive padel gave me. It felt rewarding in a sense, that I was taking care of my body the right way so that it could compete again. My anti-inflammatory lifestyle allows me to do what I want on court. This is empowering!

Thus, I am confident in my approach. I am wiser than I was 10 years ago, when I was playing college tennis and where it all started. I am wiser than 3 years ago, when I started having hip pain and it just got worse to the point of surgery. I rely on the learnings of these past years. I take more days off during the week, I focus on active recovery and rest between trainings, I fuel my body the right way, I take the right supplements for my needs and I prioritize sleep.

In addition, I find that there is less stress involved around competing which is good for my emotional health. I am just grateful I get to compete!

My message for you: don’t limit yourself and your athletic goals because of your AS. Learn to understand your body, your needs and how to properly recover.

I would love to hear about your athletic adventures!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AxialSpondyloarthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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