Recovery from training has become recognized as one of the most important aspects of overall wellness and physical activity. It allows the body time to heal itself, resulting in improved performance while decreasing the risk of injury.
Muscle recovery is something that’s essential for any athlete, and while the best techniques can vary by individual, these are some of the top-proven options.
Research has found that active recovery promotes performance. It’s the body’s way of recovering after a workout by continuing the same movements for a few minutes but at a much lower intensity. For example, after running five miles, instead of stopping and heading to your car, slowly jog or walk at a fast pace for a few minutes. It allows the body to slowly release the buildup of lactic acid, while promoting blood flow to the muscles and joints. This reduces inflammation and minimizes post-exercise stiffness.
Proper stretching is key to a healthy body and a better performance later. Make an effort to stretch for at least 10 minutes after a strenuous workout while they’re still warm, which helps to improve circulation and blood flow to eliminate soreness and lessen the chance of injury.
Take the Plunge
You’ve probably seen NFL players and pros in other sports plunging into ice. There’s a reason for it as ice baths, a form of cryotherapy, can help them stay on their game. It’s something any athlete, including amateurs, can benefit from as well. It constricts blood flow to the muscles helping to lower inflammation, reduce swelling, and speed recovery from soft tissue injuries. If you can find an ice tub for sale that’s portable and compact, they’re easy to use almost anywhere simply by filling with water and ice.
A foam roller is another great tool for speeding muscle recovery. It’s a type of myofascial release, the act of releasing tension in the layer of connective tissue that surrounds the muscles known as the fascia. Basically, it’s a self-massage that you can give yourself, anywhere, anytime, to minimize the likelihood of injury and improve your range of motion. Using a foam roller can significantly lessen delayed onset muscle soreness, often linked to endurance sports such as long-distance running.
Minimize Stress Through Meditation
Minimizing stress is important for overall well-being, and it can aid recovery too. Aim to practice every day, even just five or 10 minutes can help. You can even make it an active meditation such as an easy walk through nature by being aware of your surroundings, paying attention to the sights, smells, the feel of the wind on your face, and so on.
Get Plenty of Rest
Not only does your mind and body need 7-8 hours of sleep each night, but rest days are also important for preventing burnout and potential injury. Be sure to listen to your body, and if you feel you need to take off a day or two, pay attention.