Muscle Recovery Tips For Athletes – Sports Medicine Weekly | Dr. Brian J. Cole
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Published on: 11-Nov-2021

Athletes depend on their muscle strength to succeed in whichever sport they are involved in. The biggest challenge most athletes face is muscle recovery. Muscle recovery is the process where muscles replenish using nutrients to recover after intense use.

Muscle recovery is essential because it will affect your sports performance if you don’t recover well. While rest and nutrition are necessary to recover, there are more tips you can use to minimize the amount of time you need to recover fully. This is especially important if you have to constantly practice to improve your skills at the sport of your choice.

Here are muscle recovery tips every athlete should try.

Hydration

Rehydration is one of the essential factors that will speed up muscle recovery. Dehydration may impair your body’s ability to repair itself. It is not only essential to drink enough water during training and performance but also during recovery. Water helps fill up the cells in your body, preventing them from protein synthesis. Water also helps digest all the nutrients you will be consuming needed for muscle recovery.

The standard volume of water a human needs a day is around six to eight glasses. However, during recovery, an athlete will need to take more than that. Water is not the only drink you can use to rehydrate your body. You can also add fruits and vegetables to your diet. Some are also rich in water and are perfect for rehydrating the body while providing much-needed vitamins. 

You can also drink coconut water, smoothies, or sports hydration drinks. These also contain electrolytes that you may lose during an intense performance and are essential for your nervous system.

Get some well-deserved rest.

One of the best methods to ensure full muscle recovery for athletes is getting enough rest. When you sleep, the body goes through many processes. One of them is repairing muscle and tissue, restoring balance to the rest of the body.

Adequate sleep is essential, especially to athletes who rely on muscle mass for peak performance. Lack of enough rest may contribute to loss of muscle mass because of the hormonal changes that occur during sleep.

Even the most celebrated world athletes understand the importance of sleep. For example, one of the best athletes in the world, LeBron James, says he sleeps between ten to twelve hours each night. He says that getting enough rest per night enables him to wake up refreshed the next day and reenergized to improve his skills. Adequate rest is what allows LeBron James to perform at his highest level.

Stretching

Stretching your body after an intense workout or sporting activity is great because it improves blood flow and aids in muscle recovery. When blood flows effortlessly to the muscles, it hastens the recovery process by allowing the muscles to receive much-needed nutrients for repair and recovery.

Another amazing benefit of stretching your body is it improves your muscle flexibility. This is not only great for the recovery process, but muscle flexibility will increase an athlete’s performance. Other benefits of stretching your body are that it reduces the risk of injury and relieves muscle tension.

There are different methods of stretching that are beneficial for athletes. Two of the popular ones include static stretching, which involves stretching the muscles of a group to a particular point and holding it there for some time. The second one is dynamic stretching which consists in moving more than one muscle. The different types of stretching can benefit your muscle recovery in different ways.

Improve your blood flow

Blood helps carry nutrients through the entire body, and with sufficient blood flow, that means that your muscles will receive the necessary nutrients that will aid them in recovery. Lack of sufficient blood flow means that your muscles will not receive enough nutrients, therefore, limiting their recovery and growth.

Eating a healthy balanced diet is essential in ensuring blood flow, plus fatty foods may clog your arteries restricting blood flow, so avoid those. 

Another great way of improving blood flow is exercising. Even though you should take it slow after a challenging sporting performance, you should still do some exercise to ensure you are fit, improve your blood flow, muscle motion, and flexibility.

Take proteins

Proteins are an essential nutrient needed in the body for the repair and buildup of the muscles. Taking enough proteins will help your recovery process. After the body has been through intense resistance, it starts protein synthesis, and if you do not replace the protein lost, you will lose muscle mass. Include lean meat and fish in your diet. Other sources are tuna, chicken, nuts, and soybeans.

You can also take protein powder which is another way to supplement your body with proteins. They come in different formulas. Some have collagen, and others contain the necessary amino acids needed for muscle repair and recovery.

Get a massage

Massages are recommended for athletes because they help ease up tensed muscles and body pain. Massages are also essential in the muscle recovery process of athletes because a good massage can help you sleep better, which is critical for repairing cells and muscles. 

It can help improve blood flow which is essential in circulating essential nutrients needed to fix muscle fiber. Massages also help relieve inflammation which most athletes suffer from after a challenging performance.

Roll your muscles

Rolling your muscles is also another tip for athletes that may help with muscle recovery. Rolling muscles helps remove tension and knots in muscles on your sides, arms, and legs. You can do this using a unique foam roller or medicinal ball or other similar products used to move along muscles.

Muscle rolling is great for muscle recovery because you can target specific areas that need relief. Muscle rolling helps with stiffness and pain that comes with inflammation from extreme sporting events.

Muscle recovery is an integral part of an athlete’s lifecycle because it ensures they are ready for the next competition and can perform at peak levels. Use the tips mentioned above to help with your muscle recovery process.

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