Attaining desired results as an athlete is difficult, and to get them you have to push your body to the limit. During workouts, muscle fibers develop small tears in them, and afterwards, the muscles start the healing and strengthening process. The body adapts to the workload, repairing these tears by forming muscle tissues that are bigger and stronger to help the body better respond to future workouts.
This recovery process is critical for performance because all increases in muscle strength and endurance are made during this time. There are a few recovery measures that are often overlooked that can have a large impact on muscle recovery, giving you appropriate results for all of those intense workouts.
Post Workout Massages
Sometimes after a workout, you feel like you can barely move, and over the next few days it may seem to get worse. An after-workout massage has been shown to help increase muscle recovery and decrease muscle soreness by decreasing inflammation in the muscle. This leads to decreased muscle pain and immediate soreness, as well as reduced delayed muscle soreness in the days following a workout. Many athletes receive massages after workouts or sporting events as part of their recovery.
Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt is often overlooked as a post-workout recovery option. When dissolved in water, Epsom salt produces magnesium, which is plentiful in the body and is critical for proper body functionality. Soaking in an Epsom bath increases magnesium levels in the blood, which has many benefits for muscle recovery, as well as others, including reduced stress and better sleep and digestion.
During exercise, the body generates lactate, which causes muscle soreness. Magnesium helps to reduce lactate levels in the blood and lessen swelling in muscles and joints, leading to decreased soreness and pain. Magnesium also causes the body to use glucose more effectively by transporting it into muscle cells, where it is used to promote muscle restoration and speed up the recovery process.
Ice baths can be a key component to helping to speed up the body’s recovery process. Just like a bag of peas can help to reduce swelling on a black eye, ice water can help to reduce swelling in the body’s joints and muscles.
Submerging the body in ice water lowers the body’s core and muscle temperatures, while slowing the heart rate and reducing blood flow. By constricting the blood vessels in the body, ice helps to rid the body of unwanted materials, such as lactic acid. Ice also slows down body processes, including muscle protein synthesis and muscle breakdown, reducing inflammation and soreness after a workout. When the body warms up after an ice bath, blood flow increases again and helps to speed up the recovery process.
Muscle recovery is one of the most important parts of working out and increasing results as an athlete. These methods can help your body to recover faster and more effectively, helping you to get the most out of each and every workout.