How many of us actually work hard on our exercise recovery? We have a tendency sometimes to focus on the workout and leave recovery to take its own course, an afterthought in the training cycle. Well, if you haven’t already it’s time to elevate its importance. Good recovery fuels better gains and staves off the chances of injury. Here is a list of four components (there are dozens), all geared toward faster recovery.
- Compression gear
- You’ve probably seen Crossfitters, runners and other athletes wearing the knee-high compression socks or the compression sleeves. You probably had the same thought I had the first time I saw them, “that looks a little dorky.” But, as with any trend, it’s only dorky until a lot of people start doing it and you learn the reasoning behind it. Though the consensus is still out about what exactly compression clothing can do, there is a growing body of evidence supporting their ability to reduce soreness and expedite recovery.
- Lower body compression gear such as our electric rainbow compression socks and edge compression sleeve have been shown to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after jarring exercise, such as running and plyometrics. The compression garment better secures the muscle, reducing minor muscle tearing caused by impact vibrations. This lower body compression gear can also aid in recovery by forcing blood vessels wider, which increases oxygen delivery and quicker shunting of metabolic waste.
- Contrasting showers
- Immediately after a workout jump in the shower and expose your lumbar spine to two minute bursts of hot and cold water. I know it sounds uncomfortable, but it can make a huge difference in the amount of soreness experienced and your recovery time. Alternate between the hot and cold 4 to 6 times, slowly stretching your lumbar spine forward, back, and side to side, throughout each two minute cycle. Because you are constricting and then expanding the blood vessels this greatly improves circulation.
- Foam Rollers
- Self-myofascial release (a fancy term for self-massage) and trigger point theory can go a long ways in expediting recovery times. It alleviates soreness and reduces the chances of injury. Using a high density foam roller allows you to control the movement and intensity of your massage. It’s a bit like tenderizing your own muscles (but in a good way). Using one can help work out muscle knots, return regular blood flow, and stretch and release adhesions between muscle layers. A 3D trigger point roller does much the same thing as a foam roller, but adds the extra benefit of varying high profile bumps. This allows for a deeper penetration of soft tissue, creating a more dynamic pull and stretch of fascia and muscle. You might be surprised to find your supple teenage-self waiting for you after a few short sessions with this simple piece of recovery equipment.
- Rest is essential in making training gains, recovery, and preventing injury. The harder you train the longer the recovery time needs to be between workouts. Ensure you have light days incorporated into your routine.
Sleep requirements vary depending on stress, training level, and many other factors, but all the science shows that, to be at our best, we need at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Experiment with your sleep until you find the amount that gives you optimum daily performance.
We choose to lead active lifestyles. We choose to train hard to better our health and overall fitness, but part of this is giving your body the tools it needs to bounce back from the things we throw at it. Have a recovery mindset every time you work out and your body will love you for it.
If you want further ideas and tools for recovery check out our other mobility and recovery products .