You’ve just finished your long run, but your son’s soccer game is in 20 minutes, so you throw on a sweatshirt, and jump in your car. You meet your family at the game where your wife hands your daughter over to you and expects you to entertain her. When the game is over you all head home, but you are exhausted and starving. You feel light headed and your body is stiff and sore.
In our busy lives, it’s easy to forget that we need to take of ourselves after we exercise. However, our bodies must recover from hard training bouts to adapt to the higher levels of stress that we are putting on it.
- Here are some easy things you can do to help you recover quickly.
- Replace lost fluids. Drink 16-24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during exercise. Hydration is achieved fastest with an adequate intake of water and sodium chloride, so consider a sports drink to restore electrolyte imbalances.
- Eat as soon as possible. Carbohydrates and proteins replace depleted muscle energy and help to repair muscle damage. Eat within 30-45 minutes when your muscles are primed to reload and replenish themselves.
- Stretch lightly. Stretching increases circulation of the blood to various parts of the body, improves range of motion and can help to prevent injury.
- Take an ice bath. Ouch, I know, but sitting in an ice bath for 20 min can help to reduce 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 return the byproducts of cellular breakdown to the lymph system for efficient recycling by the body.
- Take a nap. Napping promotes recovery by promoting cellular growth and repair.
- Take a walk. Walking helps to move blood through the body. This flushes out wastes that are produced when we run and can lesson soreness.
- Finally, be sure to follow your long or hard run days with an easy run, cross training or rest day.
Recover fast, run strong, Run On!