It is no secret that athletes are some of the most in shape humans on the planet, but why is that? Trainers? Diet? Training? While it is all these things and more. Another huge aspect of their training is their recovery.
While athletes can take their bodies to the absolute max, they still need to be able to recover properly and efficiently, in this blog we will talk about the best and most affective strategies for athletes and even the general people’s recovery.
Types of Recovery
We are sure you have heard of these methods, but we will dig deeper into why it is they do it and how to do so.
The most important recovery method of all is one of the most obvious. Sleep. Sleep is the key to anybody’s recovery especially athletes. The importance of sleeping 8 hours a night especially after a game, run or training session increases the rate of your muscles recovery.
Sleep is essential for both athletes and non-athletes lives for their overall health and well-being. Sleep can have both physical and emotional benefits including:
- Preventing illness. During sleep our body produces cytokines. Cytokines are hormones that are used to help build the immune system to fight off infections.
- Rest & Repair. Allowing our heart to rest and our cells and tissues to repair. This can help our body recover after physical exertion.
Ice Bath Therapy
It is quite common to see athletes in ice baths after a session or any exercise. But why?
Ice baths, cold water immersion (CWI) or cryotherapy, is the practice of taking a 10–15-minute session in very cold water. This generally happens after an intense session or game. It is believed to help reduce muscle soreness and assist in muscle recovery.
The Benefits of Ice Baths
If you’re a highly active individual and require more recovery methods and you’re wondering what the health benefits are, and if it really is worth getting in cold water for. There is a light at the end of the road, ice baths have benefits for high level athletes.
Helps your central nervous system
An ice bath can be beneficial to your central nervous system by aiding in sleep and making you feel much better from having less fatigue. It may also have positive effects on reaction speed and explosiveness in workouts.
Eases Sore and Aching Muscles
The best benefit of an ice bath is of course, reduced muscle soreness and making your body less fatigued/sore after a session.
It can also aid in the recovery of the muscles as ice treatment reduces inflammation associated with damaged muscle tissue. An addition of HOT water can improve blood flow whilst aiding inflammation reduction.
Trains Your Vagus Nerve
Another huge beneficial advantage of using the ice bath is the ability to train your vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is linked with the parasympathetic nervous system, and training it can help you face stressful situation more adequately – Strength and Conditioning Specialist Aurimas Juodka, CSCS, CPT.
How to Take an Ice Bath
Want to start but don’t know what to do?
Temperature of ice bath
The temperature of the ice bath should be approximately 8-15 Celsius or 50-59 Fahrenheit.
Duration of ice bath
Foam Rolling/Stretching & Active Recovery
Another massive advantageous recovery method is foam rolling/stretching and/or active recovery.
Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) technique. It aids in the relieving of muscle soreness, tightness and inflammation. It can also increase joint range of motion.
It aids in removing muscle pain, a small study showed that participants found evidence in foam rolling after exercise may help reduce Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in the study the rolled for 15-20 minutes immediately after exercise and showed great benefits in aiding in muscle recovery.
As stretching can assist in flexibility it can also aid in the recovery of muscles and increase strength in uncommon body positions. Stretching helps improve your joints range of motion, improve athletic performance, and decrease your risk of injury.
Stretching shows that it can increase range of motion in the joints and flexibility, with flexibility can come benefits such as:
- Improved performance in physical activities.
- Decrease your risk of injuries.
- Help your joints move through their full range of motion.
- Enable muscles to work effectively.
Active recovery is generally performing low-intensity exercise following a strenuous exercise or workout. Including yoga, walking or swimming.
Benefits of active recovery
Active recovery is used a lot in the industry and shows great benefits such as:
- Reducing lactic acid build-up in muscles
- Eliminating toxins
- Keeping muscles flexible
- Reducing muscle soreness
- Reducing muscle fatigue
As there is a massive amount of recovery methods, this is a general summary of some of the easiest and most effective methods. Other recovery methods can include diet, daily water intake and many other factors. Ensuring your body is as close to 100% at almost any point is vital for optimal athletic performance and general quality of life.