By Adrian Benne and Oskar Catoggio
Recovery after a large workout can sometimes feel worse than the main event itself. Here we will talk about a few simple strategies you can try yourself to help push through and stay on top of your recovery and get back to training, work or just your normal day-to-day.
The greater the prolonged period of inactivity you have post ride, the more uncomfortable and stiffer you will feel trying to do everyday tasks. Active recovery is one of the best approaches to improve recovery times and we preach this to every client. Although we're leaning more towards cycling in this article given the number of sore bodies following yesterday's Around The Bay event, these following tips are relevant for any recovery from a heavy exercise session.
Some sport specific activity is a great place to start for any recovery. Jumping straight back onto the bike might be the last thing you want to do, however getting out for a cruisey, relaxed pedal helps to lubicate the joints and flush out any inflammation, which can help to overcome the stiffness and soreness. Getting the legs moving will also increase blood flow to the fatigued muscles to assist the body’s process of tissue healing. You don't have to be out to break any PRs, just keep the cadence low and pedal in a light gear to get the legs turning over.
If you have pulled up fairly tender around the saddle area and couldn't bare any further saddle time, there are other options. Any type of gentle cardio, or low resistance lower body exercises will assist muscle recovery by keeping the muscle fibres active, but not so much that they will be stressed and fatigue further. Getting out for a walk is a really easy option if you can't bring yourself to climb back onto the bike just yet. If you fancy a swim, you can get the added benefit of cryotherapy effects of the cold water if you respond well to that, as well as the gentle pressure from the water itself. Even doing some slow, easy bodyweight exercises such squats, lunges, seated knee extensions, and bridges can help to get everything moving again.
Supplements can be of assistance as well, particularly magnesium tablets or powders for this situation. Magnesium supplements have been shown to assist muscle health, reduce cramp onset and spasms. They also have the added benefit of reducing sleeplessness, which is a huge part of muscle healing. PhysioLife stocks the full range of ‘Pillar Performance’ supplement line, so have a chat to your physio about whether supplements may be appropriate for your recovery.
If the above strategies aren’t quite doing the job, sometimes a bit of hands-on therapy can be required to provide further recovery. Gentle soft tissue work will allow for similar effects of active recovery by encouraging blood flow to the tissues, as well as helping you relax post workout. This is also a good opportunity to chat to your physio about any other aches and pains you might have, or potential injuries that may have been missed.
If you feel you need a bit of extra assistance post ride, call the clinic on 03 9459 5849 to make an appointment, or book online at https://physiolife.physio/