Whether you've had to take time off due to injury or are simply trying to get back into your chosen sport after a hiatus, it can be hard to get back on the horse. Athletes of all ages and builds know that getting back into the swing of training and picking up where their fitness left off is difficult, if not impossible. Luckily, if you know about some useful recovery tips, you can make your return to sports as smooth as possible. Below are a few tips for getting back into regular workouts and ideas on how to recover after an injury or long hiatus.
Make Friends with Your Foam Roller
Regardless of what sport you do, you're likely to have some muscle soreness and discomfort when getting back into your sport. Foam rollers, which are often used in physiotherapy, can help you recover from soreness. They work using myofascial release technology, which works to relax tight muscle fibers. Regularly foam rolling after exercise can help you not only treat current aches, but also prevent new ones.
Do Some Light Cardio After Exercise
The cooldown is a common feature in many workouts. There's also science to back it up. Some studies have suggested that delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, can be reduced by doing some light cardio following a workout. Because aerobic exercise increases circulation, it helps to remove the metabolic waste products responsible for DOMS. Try a little light jogging, a long walk, or a couple cool down laps to get your heart moving and muscles relaxed.
Drink Some Tart Cherry Juice
This may sound like an odd recovery tip. However, one study of competitive runners found that those who drank tart cherry juice had less soreness and less muscle damage after racing. They were compared to a control group who drank a placebo cherry drink. If your chosen sport is an endurance sport, regularly drinking tart cherry juice may help you to reduce the degree of muscle soreness you experience.
Eat Enough Protein
If your chosen sport involves weight lifting, this advice is likely familiar. Because dietary protein contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle tissue, eating protein can speed up the rebuilding of muscle tissue. Muscle soreness after exercise is caused by micro tears, which the body repairs using dietary protein. If you aren't sure how much protein you need per day, it may help to consult an online protein needs calculator.
While getting back into any sport can be tough, managing your exercise recovery can help you bounce back more quickly. When you practice these techniques regularly, you'll be more likely to become readjusted to your sport of choice in little time (and hopefully with as little soreness as possible).
Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. For more information on physical therapy for athletes check out www.athletesadvantagephysio.comand check out Eileen’s Twitter @eileenoshanassy.