Atheltic and fitness planning often fall short when it comes to recovery. Fact is, recovery is one of the most often overlooked aspects of training. Sure you get enough water, remember to stretch or warmup before you workout, but what if there was more you could do to avoid the dreaded soreness that accompanies a good hard workout? If you’ve ever been to the gym, the studio, and a high school P.E. class, you know what its like to be sore, and tired from a workout. Here are the TOP 5 recovery hacks to help you kick soreness in the butt!
Want to know one of the best free ways to decrease inflammation and soreness? Taking cold showers after your work out. Cold showers improve circulation by forcing blood into your organs to keep them warm. A secondary benefit of taking a cold shower is obvious but often overlooked, you’re not taking a HOT or warm shower. Warm showers have the opposite effect; blood is sent to your skin. Pores open up to cool off opening a doorway for chemicals and toxins from public tap water to get into your skin and harm your body which can have a negative effect on your endocrine (hormonal) system. A study by Thrombosis Research Institute cited cold water shows increases testosterone which boosts libido, strength, energy, and of course helps you recover faster.
Active recovery is simply an easier workout compared to your normal session. Your fitness level will determine what is easier than a normal workout session. Active recovery helps prime your body’s metabolic pathways of recovery. If anything our bodies enjoy being on a consistent rhythm, if you think about it; it’s quite unnatural to work out hard a day or a couple days a week and completely rest a day or a couple days a week. Active recovery can range from myofascial release (explained later), massage, yoga, a brisk walk, cycling, hiking, or even swimming. Simply by adding a few high rep light resistance exercises at the end of your workout can help increase blood flow and nutrients to the body. Another way to decrease soreness is to add a simple low intensity movement exercise like swimming or jump roping on your off days. This will help with adding extra movement and circulation to what might otherwise be a stiff achy day on the couch.
All too often we work hard at the office, burn off some stress at the gym, and come home to get minimal or low quality sleep. It’s too common to keep the mentality of pushing for that extra rep at the gym and not prioritizing quality sleep. If you’re breaking down muscles and working a stressful job, your body will need 7-8 of of sleep per night. Getting quality sleep is an often overlooked factor. Getting into the habit of minimizing interactions with electronic devices, 1 hour before bed usually helps to get you deeper more quality sleep. Just for this week, make a commitment to sleeping at the same time every night, you’ll be surprised at how rested you feel in the morning and how that momentum can carry you through the day!
Take a quality magnesium supplement. Amazon and Google research is your friend, while we aren’t going to recommend you a specific type or brand of magnesium – there are plenty of articles and review sites that will. Magnesium is a critical component of any athletic recovery regimen. Of course, a balanced and complete diet should contain all your macro (protein, carbs, and healthy fats) and micro (minerals, probiotics, water, and fiber) you need, but that’s in a perfect world. Things don’t always go according to plan, that we can plan on. Magnesium plays a pivotal role in energy production and recovery. A 2012 study of top-level runners showed that even a slightly deficient magnesium level can lead to a significant decrease in athletic performance and a significant increase in inflammation levels. As someone who is interested in recovery and peak performance, you should definitely be concerned with keeping your magnesium levels up to par!
When it comes to recovery tools nothing beats a good high-quality foam roller to beat the soreness and improve muscle tone. Foam rollers are second only to scheduling time to get a personal massage. The key to recovery is to flush away toxins and metabolites and get fresh blood and nutrients into the tissue. Make no mistake, foam rolling is one of the most underrated tools for recovery and has lately become increasingly popular as people are becoming more informed about the healing benefits of soft tissue care or massage therapy. It was long believed that the best way to warm up was to sit and stretch before and after a workout. New research indicates foam roller exercises before and after can help increase flexibility and improve recovery. Blood circulation is also improved by regular foam rolling which can bring new oxygen and nutrients to the muscles throughout the body which can help also improve cognitive ability and strengthen the immune system. Another study has also shown that regular foam rolling has also been shown to decrease cortisol levels (stress hormone). People’s biggest gripe has been about being sore after an intense or hard workout. This is due to a phenomenon called DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) which can happen whether you’re an experienced athlete or a weekend warrior. This is because your body is put through a workout or physical stress that is unusually intensive, this causes a delayed soreness. Research has found foam rolling can substantially reduce the chances of DOMS but also increase your tolerance to pain. Vibrating foam rollers have been shown to have an increased effectiveness of 200% over normal foam rollers. So given the opportunity, try using a vibrating foam roller to make the best use of your recovery time and alleviate soreness and tension.
So if you’ve been thinking about taking up cycling or lifting again or about your achy muscles and don’t want to deal with the initial soreness, you’re now armed with the information to get the results you want and minimize the soreness, stress, and tension associated with working out. Increase your performance and minimize the stress, soreness, and injury associated with it. Do the free stuff, get good sleep, water, take cold showers, add a bit of exercise on your off days and get a foam roller to do a self-myofascial release. Do yourself a solid, get a high-quality roller, even better a vibrating foam roller to increase circulation, lower stress hormones, reduce exercise-related soreness, prevent injuries while increasing mobility and range of motion.
You can check out our Phenom Vibrating Foam Roller here.
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