Thanks to Rob Crouch for todays Coaches Corner question. Rob wanted to know the best way to recover post exercise.
When you exercise depending on the level of intensity and or duration, you will put stress upon your muscular system. As a result of this, you might suffer from a number of symptoms. These could be sore muscles the following day. This is known as D.O.M.S – Delayed Onset of Muscular Soreness and not due to lactic acid within the muscles. Or you might be light headed during the course of the day when you get up quickly for example. This is due in part to blood pooling – which is where blood is still left in the working muscles and because you didn’t have time to cool down, blood is trapped in part in the muscles so as you get up, blood pressure levels will be lower than normal. If this is common it would be advisable to see your local GP.
So what can you do post training to aid recovery.
Cool down: you should always factor in a period of reduced level of intensity, i.e cool down so that you can reduce your body temperature slowly and allow the heart to flush out any waste products with fresh oxygenated blood around the body. 5-10mins is sufficient enough to aid recovery rates. Follow this up with stretching those working muscles – this will ensure you maintain a full range of movement and flexibility and increase venous return (blood flow) back to the heart.
Foam Roller: foam rollers are ideal to help reduce muscle tightness. Acting like a human rolling pin, look to roll towards the heart and when you find a pressure point (tightness or discomfort) look to hold that position for 10 – 15 seconds slowly breathing out in the process to relax the muscle. Repeat this a couple of times to ease the muscle out.
Compression: compression wear is extremely popular amongst triathletes and runners. Compression looks to aid venous return by allowing controlled pressure on the muscles and encouraging blood flow back to the heart and reduce blood pulling. This helps with reducing those ‘light headed’ moments.
Nutrition: to aid recovery, look to take back on board protein (to aid muscle repair & development) and carbohydrates to repair energy stores. The balance should be around 3:1 and many sports nutritional supplements brands have recovery drinks in their range. Simple chocolate milk will do and has been used for years by elite athletes. Look to do this within 30mins of finishing as this is when the body is at it most receptive.
Ice bath: sitting in an ice bath for 5 – 10mins reduces the body temperature which hinders the recovery process (swelling stops the natural blood flow – which in turns slows the recovery process down). I would suggest building the time up from 5mins to 10 and also look to wear pant and even neoprene socks to reduce the discomfort.
Massage: massage on a regular basis will help loosen the muscles, remove tightness which could lead to injury over time and help the body to recover