Exercise can be grueling enough. You’re working hard to maintain your electrolyte balance, nutrition, hydration, blah, blah, blah. You’re working out like crazy and your body is letting you know. Big time.
What do you do?
First of all, this shouldn’t have happened. Get your ducks in a row and prioritize recovery. It is undoubtedly the hardest part of a tough workout routine. You’ve already worked out for hours today why should you have to take another hour to iron out (more like roll out) all the wrinkles?
Because you will regret it otherwise.
Take a hot Epsom salt bath. Magnesium does amazing things for your muscles in terms of recovery and the heat? Woo boy, you can just feel the pain melt away. But the magnesium helps your muscles for more than the time you’ve spent in the tub. The hot water encourages your blood to get everywhere included places that need it, like injuries and angry tendons.
But it doesn’t have to be a hot bath. It can be a sit in the hot tub. Or dry heat sauna, or steam sauna. As long as your body is enveloped in warmth, it’s a great tool to help aide in your recovery.
All right, the next one is much less pleasant.
Everyone who really works out, especially in endurance sports knows that foam rolling is your best frenemy. It hurts. But you won’t hurt the next day. And that’s the key deal after all. Recovery.
Foam rollers aren’t too expensive, thankfully, so they’re a relatively cheap option for anyone looking to increase their recovery and therefore increase your performance tomorrow and in the long run. It’ll hurt, but it will hurt less as you keep rolling things out.
But this jumps nicely into the next one: Fascia Blaster and The Stick
Yeah, I know. Both of these have very intense names and there’s a good reason for that. They’re intense. They make you experience your muscles on a whole new level. Essentially, they both dig their little fingers into you and make you scream.
In a good…ish way.
Slather up with some massage oil and get going. These theoretically break up knots and fascia that’s forming where it shouldn’t be. Whatever the case may be, I know that my legs always feel better after a good fascia blast and stick session.
It’s a Wednesday which means it’s a day about yoga, or yoga-like topics. Recovery falls into that category because yoga is a better substitution for stretching. Yoga includes movement, strength controlled flexibility, and there’s a pose for every muscle. It’s also low-impact and for you runners out there, you ought to jump at the chance to partake in that.
Yoga is a phenomenal way to stretch out our muscles, practice recovery, and get a light workout in on a rest day. There’s nothing worse than just sitting all day long when you’re trying to recover. That will only stiffen your body up.
So give yoga a shot or, just like the rest of these tips, work to carve out time where you will be able to practice yoga as a recovery activity nearly daily.
All right, my last recovery tip is going to sound very silly and very common sense-y. Eat and drink water.
You’re squinting at this article like I’m crazy, I can feel it.
Yes, everyone know that you need to eat and hydrate. That’s not revolutionary. This advice is as old as the books. What we don’t think of is this:
We assume because we aren’t working out we don’t to eat as much or drink as much.
And that leads us to under eat when we need the vital protein and energy to heal ourselves. We need the water especially because our muscles are using it to stay safe and fix themselves up. We won’t eat as much no, but we still need to eat and drink enough.
So, as you’re working through your new recovery plan and weighing various options, think about eating and drinking. Incorporate protein powder into your day as well since it’s a great option for adding in some calories and rounding out the needs of your body.
But there is one thing that needs to be mentioned:
It’s important to take rest days routinely to help heal your body and allow it to rest but if we aren’t being mindful of nagging pains, recurring aches, or even a pattern of tightness, we aren’t actually doing anything good for ourselves.
Instead of just “taking the day off”, really plan out a good workout routine and recovery routine that has these key things in it. Make sure that you are able to jump into a tub or sauna. Make sure you roll out your muscles or plan a massage. Those parts of athleticism are not a luxury. We should stop seeing them as such and instead see them as another workout that we must accomplish.