Recovery is one of my new favorite topics. Work hard and REST hard. I have my favorite physical therapist and massage therapist on speed dial. Here’s some quick tips on how the correct recovery gets you to the next workout ready to go.
1. REST day. I know this may seem obvious, but a rest day really is important mentally and physically. Running around doing errands, working on taxes, doing laundry – those aren’t restful (so don’t tell yourself you rested even if you didn’t workout hard). Find something that is relaxing and your body and mind will thank you.
2. Sleep. Sleep is hands down the MOST restorative act to quickly repair your body. You need it. I’ve created a habit to nap after hard work outs, and I have greatly benefited from doing this. Also, continual, uninterrupted sleep at night is essential. I’ve backed my bed time up to quite early (9:30pm), but with a 4:55am wake up call, sleep is needed to be successful the next day. I also have a mantra: Don’t borrow time from the next day.
3. Massage. Regularly scheduled massages can get expensive, for sure. But an injury is more expensive. Maintenance is essential, especially as we get older.
4. Dry Needling. I was a believer in dry needles from the beginning. I’ll admit the actual procedure is AWFUL and MISERABLE. I can’t even begin to describe how unrelaxing it is. BUT, after you get past the initial shock, and understanding that your nervous system really does go through the parasympathetic response (fight/flight), it DOES work. Your muscles do feel better.
5. Cupping. Remember Michael Phelps having all those circles on his shoulders? That’s cupping. It increases blood flow through suction and helps improve soft tissue mobility. I’m not 100% convinced of this one yet, but this is good to keep in your back pocket.
6. Normatec Compression Recovery. You slide your legs into this giant boot, press a
button, and the boot compresses to improve circulation and reduce soreness. I tried this for the first time the other day, and what a relief I had! My legs were nearly springy as I left the PT office.
7. Reflexology – I JUST had this done last week, and I felt like I’ve been living under a rock. This was a 30 min foot massage (I should have booked 60 min), and it was ah-maz-ing. The foot soreness disappeared, and I felt incredibly relaxed. Drink lots of water after to help flush out the toxins.
8. Food. While this is listed last, it is definitely not least in importance. Food CAN heal you and speed up recovery. The old fashioned chicken & noodle soup works for a reason. Keep your foods wholesome, eat fruits & veggies, and give your body the resources it needs internally to start repairs.