Many athletes look forward to their new PRs and the opportunity to play again. However, recovery is a very important part of reaching that new PR. If the body does not have time to recharge, it will start shutting down and injury will follow. Recovery is an idea that many athletes like to ignore because they feel they need to shut everything down. Research has shown that active recovery is more beneficial to the body. It increases blood flow to the muscles, ligaments and joints to heal.
Below are the five best recovery exercises:
- Moving – By riding a bike, swimming laps or just taking a walk, you will start to increase the blood flow to the areas that need it. The goal is to keep the intensity and your heart rate low. Your effort level from 1 to 10 should stay around a 4 and no more than a 6.
- Stretch – Stretching during recovery will help loosen up those tight muscles. Usually we need to concentrate on the hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes and IT bands.
- Massage – Research has shown that massage can reduce muscle soreness 30 percent. Seeing a massage therapist regularly will also reduce your chances of injury and soothe trouble spots before they get worse.
- Eat Right – Protein, fiber and carbs are important to any runner’s diet. They will help your body get ready for the next workout.
- Sleep – Your body and brain need to recover from all of the activity. Getting between seven and nine hours of sleep per night will keep your body and mind sharp for the next event or activity.