These can be beneficial for everyone, so keep them in mind.
By health workers for men | | September 19, 2022
There is no doubt that top athletes train hard. From daily training sessions to full throttle on game day, the workload definitely adds up and demands your body. However, burnout and injuries can destroy an athlete’s career and therefore it is imperative for them to implement and stick to a recovery ritual.
But what about the weekend warrior, or the gym goer who also trains hard, or even the workaholic who works too hard? Believe it or not, making sure they rest and take care of their well-being is just as important for this group as it is for athletes.
“Athlete recovery time is factored into their training schedule by their coaches” explains Ben Seymour, a former Australian rugby union footballer who played as a fly-half for Western Force in Super Rugby and is now part-owner of the recovery lab Group. “The thing is, non-elite athletes often don’t have time in their day to recover, rest and even nap. Instead, they go to work and have to do whatever else is asked of them. This means recovery often falls out the window due to time constraints, but this can also lead to burnout and injuries that can take a while to recover from. It’s far better to avoid if you can.”
Here, Ben shares the best recovery tools that athletes swear by. These can be beneficial for everyone, so keep them in mind.
warm up and cool down
No matter how busy you are, don’t skimp on warming up or cooling down before and after your workout. These are two simple exercises that take 10 minutes and can really help you avoid overstressing a muscle or injuring yourself.
Before you start exercising, you should do mobility exercises to warm up and get your body used to the exercises you will be doing. For example, if you’re doing a heavy-legged session, doing light lunges and squats to warm up in this movement pattern is a good idea.
Feel free to do more static stretches to cool down. Stretch the whole body with a focus on the muscles you just worked.
If you suffer from DOMS and sore muscles after a workout, there is no harm in investing in a massage gun or using the massage guns at your local recovery lab. Massage guns help you massage deeper into your muscles and fascia, which helps lower your lactic acid levels while improving your lymphatic function and blood flow. It’s a great way to relieve pain, and it’s also a great preventive tool.
This is an extremely relaxing treatment that will often put you to sleep. I can also say that most top athletes who are active on Instagram would probably at some point have posted a picture of themselves enjoying NormaTec’s dynamic air compression boots. They are very popular.
The boots themselves cover your entire leg. Put them on and they come down to the top of your thighs. From there you plug them in and press play. These boots pull your legs tight together through compression. Think of a massage chair but with a more effective massage that releases all the lactic acid from your legs. This is a great treatment for 45-60 minutes after a big leg session or running session. It stimulates blood circulation and will make you feel like new in no time.
An ice bath requires a bit more grit as it’s certainly not comfortable, but it’s great for reducing inflammation and promoting post-workout recovery to reduce the risk of injury. They’re also great for your metabolism and immune system, and surprisingly good for your mental health, as cold-dip therapy can benefit your central nervous system.
How it works is that the cold water constricts your blood vessels, which decreases metabolic activity, thus reducing tissue breakdown and swelling. Then, when your body is out of the cold water, there is a faster return of blood flow to the lymphatic system, which helps your body flush out the metabolic waste that builds up during exercise. There is also evidence that it can reduce inflammation in the muscles, reducing the risk of DOMS, thereby preventing muscle soreness.
Ideally, try to stay in the ice bath for 3-8 minutes if possible, but build on that.
If the ice bath isn’t for you, the infrared sauna is just the opposite. Infrared saunas are great for flushing out toxins, relieving pain, improving circulation and helping fight fatigue. There are also some beauty benefits as it can also improve your skin tone and target weight loss.
This is a great 30-45 minute treatment that can be done frequently. Many soccer players love using an infrared sauna on a weekly basis, especially during game season, although you’ll get great results with an ice bath if you’re really sore.