7 Tried & Tested Recovery Strategies To Optimise Your Performance
In general, people exercise to make some part of their body function better. However, without effective use of recovery periods (see 4 Recovery Periods Your Probably Ignoring!) you’ll most likely waste most of your hard work! With this in mind here are 7 simple recovery strategies everyone needs to be doing. Give them a try.
#1 - Sleep
Sleep is THE most important recovery strategy! Adequate levels of sleep help to provide muscular recovery. There’s no exact duration but approximately 7 – 9 hours will be enough for most people.
#2 - Diet
You will exercise better and recover better with a good diet in place. If you’re serious about improving physical performance of any kind (even injury recovery) then stop eating rubbish food (you know what I mean)! If you’re really not sure what’s rubbish and what’s not, get in touch and we’ll tell you. Check out Gillian's article what food to buy for you kitchen.
#3 - Active Recovery
For many this is one of the most popular forms of recovery. It's often referred to as a 'warm-down' if immediately used after a work out, or 'active recovery' when used between workouts. An example of an active recovery session is light jogging/cycling for 20-30 minutes. When used straight after a workout it helps reduce the build-up of chemicals as a by-product of exercise and assists in returning the body to a pre-exercise state; when used between, it eases delayed on-set muscle soreness (see below), helps eliminate waste products from the body and keeps your joints mobile.
#4 - Massage Therapy
Passive manipulation of the muscles (sports massage) will help release tension and areas of restriction, as well as increasing blood circulation, to facilitate the natural removal of the accumulation of unwanted chemicals. Seek out a qualified massage therapist or contact us and we'll help you find one.
#5 - Stretching
Static Stretching should be performed after exercise (and between if you need to develop your flexibility) to help off-set the shortening effects of exercise and to reduce the stiffness and soreness associated with exercise (otherwise known as DOMS - Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). Try using a foam roller before to facilitate a better quality of stretch (see Lauren's article on Foam Rolling)
#6 – Supplementation
Do NOT use supplements unless #2 is in place! Why? Because you’re just throwing money away. Supplementation works but only in combination with a good diet (that’s why it’s called supplementation). With such a large choice of supplements on the market it’s about finding the correct one for your needs to help speed up recovery. If you’re not sure, just ask us.
#7 – Hydrotherapy
This can be swimming, ice baths (not as bad as they sound), saunas, Jacuzzis, steam rooms or a combination.
Take it from us, these recovery strategies work very well! We used them when we were involved in elite sport and we still use them today. Remember, there is no adaptation to exercise without recovery.