You’re smashing in training, eating right and putting plenty of strength and conditioning work but are you making sure your recovery is on point? If you want to maximise your performance you have to make sure that you’re putting your body in a position to perform at its best time and time again. So because FQ have always got your back we’ve put together a list of five recovery methods you can incorporate into your training program.
Let’s start with the obvious and the easiest one; getting enough sleep. If you get less than six hours a night for four or more consecutive nights you’ll see a decline in cognitive performance, impact your mood, affect how your body processes glucose, how your appetite gets regulated and even your immune system. Make sure you’re getting your full eight hours to give your body and brain time to recover fully for more hard work.
Active recovery is a general term given to performing light aerobic exercise such as jogging, cycling and swimming. It’s generally believed to be superior to passive recovery (i.e. lying on the sofa for a few hours) because it increases blood flow to the exercised areas, enhancing clearance of lactic acid and other waste products produced by your muscles during exercise as well as getting more oxygenated blood to the area. Next time you wake up with your muscles aching after a tough session then get them moving to enhance their recovery.
While there’s not a huge amount of evidence that stretching has many benefits for recovery, but activities such as yoga are important for athletes for maximising core strength, joint strength and flexibility. Yoga is perfect to incorporate into a stretching routine at the end of a training session, while your muscles are warmed up and at their most pliable. Or, use it as a way to perform a beneficial, low impact training session on a rest day.
Similar to stretching, there’s not a huge amount of evidence about the benefits to recovery from massage – most evidence points to psychological benefits instead of physical benefits such as improved blood flow. However, massage is believed to reduce injury risk and therefore is a great benefit to an athlete. Incorporate massage into your routine to help relax you and reduce injury risk.
There’s a real trend for cryotherapy these days, with everyone hopping in cold chambers or ice baths. There’s evidence that getting chilly gives you a number of benefits, such as reducing blood flow to the extremities and dropping muscle temperatures, which can reduce inflammation, improve immune responses, reduce muscle soreness and even improve the how fatigued you feel. There’s an overall agreement that cold therapy is good for athletes, especially those involved in high intensity sports.
What’s your favourite way to recover after a tough workout? Have we missed the best one off our list? Let us know in the comments!
Remember, while we’ve done our research FQ is no substitute for a trained professional – if in doubt check with a doctor, trainer or coach.