It’s that time of the year where kids are returning to school and getting ready for Fall athletics. Whether you have been training all Summer or just starting practices, here are some tips to help you in your recovery from training.
Importance of Hydration
We all know it is important to stay hydrated. Being dehydrated can impair your muscle’s ability to repair itself. Drinking fluids during exercise can help maintain normal body function, reduce heat stress, and help maintain your normal performance levels. It is recommended that you drink 7-10 ounces of fluids every 10-20 minutes during exercise. If you are not sure if you are getting enough fluids after a workout, it could be helpful to weigh yourself before and after your activity. It is also recommended that you drink approximately 16-24 ounces of fluid for every pound you lose.
Sleep gives your muscles time to recover from your activity. Everyone is different and requires different amounts of sleep. On average people should be getting anywhere from 6-8 hours of sleep. Individuals that participate in higher intensity activities may require more. Not getting enough sleep will not only affect your performance but it impairs your muscle’s ability to recover. Sleep deprivation impairs your body’s inflammatory process as well as the production of certain hormones that help in muscle growth and performance.
Static stretching at the end of a workout can help with your flexibility and help reduce the risk of injury. It involves holding a prolonged stretch for about 20-30 seconds at a time. Static stretching various muscle groups at the end of a workout is also a great way to reduce stress and muscle tension.
Individuals need to be aware that this is to be done at the end of practice. Studies have shown that static stretching before could negatively affect your performance. Performing a dynamic warmup, where you are actively moving prior to activity is the preferred way of warming up to perform at your best.
As a rule in life, you want to eat a well-balanced diet. Eating a healthy diet can ensure you don’t develop any nutritional deficiencies and prevent your body from properly repairing itself and recover to its fullest. You want to minimize the amount of processed foods you are eating and making sure you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.
After a strenuous workout you want to consume the right nutrients to help you rebuild any muscle breakdown and replenish your glycogen stores (your bodies preferred fuel source for intense workouts). A post work out meal consisting of a 3 to 1 ratio (grams per pound) of carbohydrates and proteins will help you achieve this. Studies have also shown that consuming extra protein (approximately 20-40 grams) before and after a strenuous workout can help your body’s ability to recover, positive effects on muscle growth, strength, and body composition.
I know that these suggestions are not the trendiest things to read about, but they are the most effective and it doesn’t cost you anything. In most circumstances, there is nothing preventing you from drinking more water, sleeping more, being more disciplined with your diet and finally taking 10 minutes after your workout to do some gentle stretching. There are other techniques that can be used, like cryotherapy, contrast baths, compression garments, but not everyone has access or the resources to those things. Keep things simple.
Best of luck to all the athletes this upcoming fall season.