Training for a race, upcoming track season, or just keeping up with your fitness? Recover better after your next workout. Reduce muscle fatigue, muscle strain and injuries, and increase performance with these simple steps.
During the recovery period, muscle’s oxygen and energy stores are replenished quickly, lactic acid is removed after about 1 hour, and glycogen is replaced over several days. Aide in this process and recover more rapidly with an active recovery, as compared to passive recovery.
For example, after the completion of a run, incorporate an easy to moderate intensity of jog, bike, or swim. If your workout involves interval training take about 2-3 minutes of active rest/recovery in between intervals.
After your run, include some light static stretches to promote muscle relaxation to the major muscle groups used in your run. Hold each position, just until the stretch is felt, for 20-30 sec. Try stretching the calves, hamstrings, and piriformis.
Ice/cold bath can reduce pain, control swelling of acute sprains or strains, speed muscle recovery, and reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness. Make an ice bath by combining cool water and ice. Water temperature should be between 50 – 65°F. Ice for 20 minutes or until the area is numb. You should expect to feel cold, burning, aching, and then numbness.
It is also important to keep your body adequately hydrated for effective healing and muscle performance. It is recommended to drink 64 oz per day, or 8 oz 8 times per day, however this amount will vary depending on your body’s needs and activity level.
It is a common practice to warm up before activities, but don’t let skipping the cool down period hold you back! These recovery tips are just as important for injury prevention and optimal performance.
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