We all know that feeling, where you wake up the day after a big workout and your muscles feel so sore. But did you know there are some methods you can use to help prevent that ‘exercise hangover’?
1. Compression Garments (e.g. skins)
You can wear these in the evening and even to bed, just make sure they’re not too tight! Research has shown that compression garments may improve joint awareness, local blood flow, waste product removal, improve running economy, reduce swelling, reduce muscle oscillation, and decrease post-exercise muscle performance whilst appear to have no negative impact on performance.
2. Contrast Therapy (e.g. hot and cold baths)
This can be done immediately post workout by turning the shower from hot to cold every minute or so. The change in temperature creates a contraction and relaxation of your muscles which results in a pump-like action in your blood vessels. Because of this pumping action, metabolic waste products produced during exercise and can cause DOMS can be flushed out of your muscles and back into the bloodstream to be broken down.
Now this can either be the same as point 2 or can be just cold or just hot. This doesn’t mean sub zero temperatures. Cold therapy should be between the range of 12-15 degrees for 6 minutes and hot between 35-40 degrees. The cold water constricts blood vessels and decreases metabolic activity, which reduces swelling and tissue breakdown. Once the skin is no longer in contact with the cold source, the underlying tissues warm up, causing a return of faster blood flow, which helps waste removal much like contrast therapy. The hot therapy increase blood flow to the muscles with micro-tears which occur when we train, this allows for nutrients and recovery cells to act.
4. Static stretching
Holding stretches post workout for 1-2 minutes can reduce DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness) for the days to come. Rather than just leaving right after class, stay back and stretch for 5 mins. This will save you much muscular pain in the days to come and allow you to continue to turn up and perform.
5. Active recovery
Jump on the Airdyne, rower, swimming, go for a slow jog or walk to reduce your high heart rate slowly rather than a rapid decline. This allows your body to flush out waste and lactic acid which create muscle soreness.
Now the easiest massage is foam rolling but if you really want to step up your recovery then I highly recommend you reach out to our resident masseuse Jo at Range & Motion
She will get your muscle fibres and tissue to flush waste out and also increases blood flow for muscles to recover and also be able to help you with any mobility prescriptions.
A diet which has a wide variety of foods with optimal macro and micronutrients allows for a more productive body. Everyone is different and each person’s body reacts differently so “optimal protocol” should be individualised through trial and error.
8. My favourite is sleep
The better your sleep quality the better you will recover. Poor sleep doesn’t allow the body to do its job. Power naps from 20mins-1hr during the day between 12pm-3pm are also beneficial for mind and body to recover from strenuous activity. If you work in an office ask the boss for a power nap break! If they give out smoko’s every hour for 5 mins then a short 20 min break should not be frowned upon.
If you have any methods I haven’t covered which you have tried and tested please share with the group in the comments below. I am happy for healthy discussion but will give you feedback if I believe it isn’t a great method for the long term.
PS. Things to avoid to improve recovery is Alcohol and a bad diet