Jet Lag Vs. Major League Athletes

Baseball fans know all about the work that athletes put in during the offseason. Only thing you need is an Instagram account to see your favorite player doing box jumps, tire flips, and bench press. But what we rarely see is what the players go through DURING the season to have their bodies be able to withstand 162 plus games. No matter how hard you train in the offseason, there is nothing that you can do to prepare your body for forces it just was not able to handle. For example, jet lag.

Any “normal” person that has even flown across the country or across time zones have experienced the brutal effects of jet lag. It is no different than the effects that our favorite athletes feel. Jet lag causes fatigue, stomach discomfort, and cognitive decline among others.

Ravi Allada, a circadian rhythms expert at Northwestern University, and an “adopted Cubs fan” looked at more than 40,000 games from over 20 years and concluded that “the effects of jet lag are subtle, but detectable and significant”. Dr. Allada also noted that jet lag effects both offense and defense, not just one.

Any baseball fan can clearly see when a player is slow and sluggish. It is a really ugly sight, and it sometimes looks like the player is disengaged and does not want to be there.Now Dr.Allada is giving us baseball fans a reason to why the players are slow and sluggish.

Pitchers might not be able to bend down as far as they want to or be able to get their arm high enough because their muscles are tight. Position players might also not be able to bend down all the way, also their swing could be slow. Dr.Allada noticed that these effects are worse when traveling east. That is because “it is easier, say scientists at the University of Maryland, for our neurons to cope with a prolonged day than a shortened one. Traveling west — backward in time zones — adds hours to the day, closer to the longer day most human bodies naturally prefer”(Washington Post).

Now that Dr.Allada has given us a reason to why our players might look slow and sluggish, it is time for us fans to give our players some slack and realize that it happens to everybody. Besides, us yelling at our screens is not going to help anybody.


1 Comment

  1. While jet lag is probably having a significant effect on the performance of baseball players and athletes of other sports that involve aggressive traveling routines, would it not also be fair to say that the effects of the pace of the season and the amount of games may also be playing there effect? As baseball teams play at least 162 games a year depending on whether they make the postseason, with many of the weeks having only one, maybe two days off per week, it seems that a baseball player would naturally degrees throughout the season unless efforts were made for them to properly rest there body. Travel, as a key part of the schedule would no doubt have a role in the wear down of players but with the multitude of games being played wouldn’t most f the stress come from playing the game itself?


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