I want to share the importance of recovery after practice. Lately, I’ve heard athletes share they are tired (physically and mentally) because they are in the middle or end of their season.
I always ask how they replenish their body after practice, and I get many *blank stares* with the occasional “eat” or “sleep.”
I get it – You are tired after practice, and the last thing you want to do is more work, but what if I told you…
Post-practice care is one of the most CRUCIAL things you can add to your daily routine to increase optimal performance!
Intense exercise or practice can cause…
- The muscles experience micro-tears, inflammation, swelling and damage
- The body is physically tired
- Increased risk of injury
- Temporarily disrupts hormonal balance
- Suppression of the immune system
- Depletion of energy stores
- Mental fatigue and stress
Here are some recommendations for after-practice recovery to help restore your body and mind:
Drink plenty of water to rehydrate your body. Hydration is critical for optimal muscle function and recovery.
Consume a balanced meal or snack with a good combination of protein and carbohydrates. Protein helps repair and build muscles, while carbohydrates replenish glycogen stores. Additionally, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals are essential for overall recovery.
Engage in light stretching to help prevent muscle stiffness and maintain flexibility. This can also aid in reducing muscle soreness after intense physical activity.
Ice or Heat 🧊🔥
Apply ice to areas that might be inflamed or sore. Ice helps to reduce inflammation and can relieve pain. Heat can also be beneficial for relaxing muscles and increasing blood flow. Alternate between ice and heat if needed.
Allow your body to rest and recover. Adequate sleep is crucial for muscle repair and overall recovery. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.
Active Recovery 🏊🧘🚶
Consider light activities or low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or yoga on rest days. This can promote blood circulation, which helps in the recovery process without putting too much strain on the body.
Compression and Elevation 👣
Consider using compression garments or elevation to reduce swelling and aid in recovery. There are so many tools out there now to make the recovery process fun and easier than it used to be.
Self-Massage or Foam Rolling 💆🏻
A massage gun or using a foam roller can help alleviate muscle tension and soreness. Yep, they work and really do allow your muscles to properly repair.
Proper Gear 🎒
Make sure you have the appropriate gear and equipment for your activities. This can help prevent injuries and support your body during physical exertion.
Listen to Your Body 👂🏼
If you feel pain or excessive fatigue that doesn’t subside with these recovery methods, it might be a sign to consult a healthcare professional.
Everyone’s body is different, and different methods might work better for each individual.
Finding the right balance and combination that suits your body and activities is essential for effective recovery after practice and achieving your fitness and athletic goals while minimizing the risk of overtraining and burnout.
This is just a quick summary of all the recovery tips for you, get more in depth analysis of what you should be doing in your sport specifically and learn strategies that most aren’t taking advantage of by booking a session with us or getting in on our next group program.