15 Things You Can Do for Athletic Recovery

athletic recovery

Exercise is fantastic for your long-term health, but in the short term it can make you feel very sore. Here are 15 things you can try to speed up your athletic recovery.

YOGA

A controlled form of exercise that focuses on building strength and flexibility, yoga can help stretch out aching muscles. Take yoga classes during your rest days or start every day with a few sun salutations to loosen your body and relax your mind.

STRETCHING

Sometimes you need to focus on stretching particular muscle groups to protect them from injury. If you run or cycle, focus on stretching your legs and hips. Lifters and swimmers will also need to stretch their shoulders to keep them in good shape.

Foam Rolling

Can’t find the right stretch to ease that knot in your calf? It may be time for you to invest in a foam roller. These are covered in bumps that press into your muscles as you roll them over the cylinder, gently massaging out any sore spots.

MASSAGE

Sometimes, only a professional massage therapist can soothe sore muscles. Book a session with a sports massage therapist to work out the knots in your back or legs.

WALKING

After a hard workout, you may feel like collapsing on the couch. However, switching between extremes of activity and inactivity can leave you feeling tired and sore. Between workouts, stay active by taking short, gentle walks as often as you can.

PILATEs

Pilates uses controlled exercises to gradually increase core strength and realign the body. Give it a try on days when you’re not running, cycling, swimming or doing other intense activity.

MEDITATION

After an intense workout, it can be difficult to calm down and focus on other activities. Meditation can help you switch between the physically active and mentally demanding parts of your day.

WATER

Sweating during exercise can leave you dehydrated. Replace this lost fluid by drinking plenty of water after a long run or heavy gym session.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps the body repair damage to cells, which means it may help support athletic recovery. After your workout, indulge in some citrus fruit or cook up a dish with tomatoes or green vegetables to boost vitamin C levels.

Protein

Working out creates tiny tears in your muscles. Your body repairs these tears with new muscle fibers, gradually making your muscles larger and stronger as a result. Protein in your diet provides the building blocks for this vital repair to work. Eat plenty of beans, nuts, lean meats, fish and tofu to boost the protein content of your daily diet.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is vital for strong bones and athletic performance, yet many people are deficient in this vitamin without realizing it. Skin produces vitamin D in response to sun exposure, but if you live somewhere that doesn’t get much sunlight in winter, it’s easy to become deficient. Only a few foods, including oily fish and fortified cereals, contain vitamin D, so you may need to take a supplement.

Minerals

Minerals, such as magnesium, calcium and potassium, are important for preventing muscle cramps. Eating a varied diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruit and dairy products will help you get enough minerals. You can also take a multivitamin to ensure you get enough.

Sleep

Sleep is essential for athletic recovery. Be sure to get eight hours a night to help your muscles recover.

Switch up Your Workouts

Doing the same workout routine every week applies repetitive stress to your body. Switch things up by varying the intensity of your workouts or trying a different activity.

Ice

Enter your text here…Ideally, your workout routine will not result in any injuries. However, most athletes overdo their workout at least once. When you have an injury, applying ice to the affected muscle can help to reduce swelling and pain.

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