All athletes know the feeling of being sore, whether after an intense workout, a tough practice or a closely contested game. The discomfort that comes the morning after a tough physical bout when players step out of bed is called delayed onset muscle soreness.
That pain is the result of muscle damage after strenuous exercise, leading to symptoms of swelling, soreness, pain, stiffness, and weakness, often lasting for several days.
Use these five ways to recover faster, avoid injuries and improve sports performance this season:
Sleep is the most important when it comes to recovery. Adequate sleep helps to provide mental health, hormonal balance, and muscle recovery. You need to get enough sleep, athletes ages 6-13 should sleep 9-11 hours and athletes ages 14-17 should sleep 8-10 hours. Here’s a few tips for deep sleep:
- Turn off all electronics an hour before bed.
- Drink a glass of milk, which contains “tryptophan” an amino acid which promotes sleep.
- Get to bed early. Hours slept before mid-night are proven to be more effective than those slept after.
Drinking proper amounts of water is critical to health, energy, recover, and performance. Typically, athletes are very attentive to hydration levels before and after games, but maintaining proper hydration during training, practices, and during recovery times are just as important. Here’s a few tips for proper hydration:
- Water is the best way to hydrate.
- After training, practice, competition consume 20oz for every lb of body weight lost.
- Check your pee. The darker and more color in your pee the less hydrated you are and the more water you need to drink.
3.) Chocolate Milk.
Chocolate Milk provides fluid, carbohydrates to replenish your body’s supply, protein to promote muscles healing and the sodium that you’ve sweated away. Consume chocolate milk in the first 20 minutes after training, practices, or games. Plus, it’s rather inexpensive and tastes so good!
4.) Self-Myofascial Release (Foam Rolling)
Self-myofascial release is a fancy term for self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. This method can be performed with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or your own hands. By applying pressure to specific points on your body you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Normal function means your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to perform at a moment’s notice.
Read my article and FREE CHEAT SHEET on foam rolling for more information.
5.) Focus on Mobility
Spending just 5-10 minutes a day stretching can increase your range of motion, improve your movement efficiency, and, most importantly, reduce your risk of injury. Plus, after a tough day on the field, it just feels great.
To get started, try these 3 mobility moves two times a week for one month and I guarantee you’ll feel a difference!
Dedicating additional time to the categories of sleep, hydration, nutrition, self-myofascial release, and mobility will increase your performance, decrease recovery time, and lower your risk of injury. These strategies take very little time, but can make the difference over the course of a long season. Coaches and athletes don’t take advantage of it because they don’t want to dedicate the time to the little things that matter most.
Will you make time?