Effective Techniques for Exercise Recovery
It’s a bad habit that many of us who exercise or participate in sports have; we give it our all during our workout, then either completely skip stretching afterward, or give it a half-hearted attempt. Many people overlook just how important post-exercise stretching is to the recovery process. Here are some of our favorite ways to begin the recovery process after your workout:
Many people see massage as a luxury or strictly for stress relief, but self-massage can be very effective at relieving pain for little to no money. There are almost limitless numbers of tools available for self-massage, but even the simplest objects like a golf ball or tennis ball work great. Use only mild to moderate force when massaging, especially on very sore muscles, and knead your muscles to promote better blood flow, or use constant pressure on any knots you feel. If you’re a runner, try rolling your feet over a hard rubber ball to help rejuvenate them.
When you exercise, your muscles generate heat which increases their range of motion. You can take advantage of that increased flexibility with some post-exercise stretching. Hold any stretches for at least 15 seconds, but no longer than 2 minutes. For best results, repeat the same stretch multiple times with a short rest period in between. Flexibility training is incredibly important to many types of exercise, but it is critical to weightlifters who damage their muscles during training.
It may seem counterintuitive to some, but skipping that rest day in your exercise schedule can be an effective recovery technique. Working a different part of the body than what is recovering allows you to exercise still while your body rests. If you’re a runner, try going for a swim the next day. It allows you to get your heart rate up without putting more stress on your feet. There are also psychological benefits to being active every day, instead of skipping one or two days each week.
These simple tips will help aid muscle recovery and cut down on lingering post-exercise pain. However, if you’re suffering from pain that won’t subside, you should speak with our team of orthopaedic specialists at Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine. Request an appointment online, or call us today at 904-825-0540 with any questions.
Ryan Hemelt – DPT, MOTR/L
Director of Rehabilitation, overseeing all physical therapy, occupational therapy, athletic training, and sports medicine outreach programs.