There’s nothing better than the feeling of finishing a hard training session, run or game. Your heart rate is high, sweat is pouring and positive endorphins have been released by the body.
How we recover is going to assist us in being able to back up and get our body moving effectively for our next bout of physical activity.
When thinking about recovery there are four simple steps to keep you on the right track.
A lack of quality sleep slows the recovery process and reduces our physical and mental performance. As an example, the gold standard for athletes in the NSW Institute of Sport Canoe Sprint program is 9.5 hours. While this isn’t achievable for all of us, there are some steps we can put in place to improve the quality and duration of the sleep we do get.
Having a good sleep routine is a great first step. Improvements in your sleep routine may include:
- Ensuring your bedroom isn’t too bright
- Ensuring your bedroom isn’t too hot (between 19-21 degrees is ideal)
- Avoiding sugar and caffeine close to bed time
- Avoid using your phone within 30 minutes of bed time
Maintaining your body’s hydration is a critical step to recovery. Water plays an important part in removing toxins from our body (as a result of exercise), bringing nutrients to our cells, reducing our body temperature and helps the process of relieving muscle tension and soreness.
If we fail to rehydrate after exercise the body will struggle to start the process of rebuilding the muscle tissues that has been broken down through our training. Two early signs of dehydration are thirst and dark coloured urine. Other symptoms to be aware of are dizziness or being light headed.
3. Mobility routine
A consistent mobility routine is a great way to lengthen our muscles, reduce soreness and assist the removal of toxins from our body. The routine below can be completed as a cool down post exercise or used the next day to try to get the body moving again.
4. Get the body moving in water
A swim or even just getting into water is a great option to start the process of getting a sore body moving again. The benefit of using swimming for recovery is that it reduces impact on your joints and assists the removal of toxins. You don’t have to be a great swimmer to get the benefits. Each stroke engages different muscle groups and gets your core firing. If you can’t swim, walking and stretching in water is a great alternative.