Recovery Strategies

Recovery Strategies

  • Physiological strategies, eg cool down, hydration
  • Neural strategies, eg hydrotherapy, massage
  • Tissue damage strategies, eg cryotherapy
  • Psychological strategies, eg relaxation.

Physiological Strategies

  • Cool Down
    • Gradual restoration of heart rate, ventilation, adrenaline levels and metabolism to pre-exercise state.
    • Without cooling down after an episode of physical activity, blood pooling is triggered which can cause dizziness.
    • Cool down helps in removing waste by-products, including excessive lactic acid that can cause muscle stiffness and soreness.
  • Hydration
    • Recovery of fluid after a training session.
    • Replaces loss of electrolytes, carbohydrates, salt and water.
    • One liter of water should be consumed for every kilogram of body weight lost.
    • Water or sports drinks are common supplements for fluid recovery.
    • Water and sports drinks have abundant electrolytes and dissolved nutrients therefore can make up the loss of minerals.

Neural Strategies

  • Hydrotherapy
    • The use of water during exercises to relieve pain and assist metabolism.
    • The buoyancy of water supports the athlete’s movement and allows muscles to float.
    • Maximum efficiency is obtained when combined with exercises involving gravity assisted movements such as jumping, walking.
    • Use of cold water reduces body temperature, causes vasoconstriction promoting fresh blood flow, diminishes feelings of pain and fatigue.
    • Hot water can also be used to achieve increased blood flow and well as replenishment of fatigue.
  • Massage
    • Post cool down endeavor for overall relaxation of the body and mind to relieve tension and stress caused from training.
    • Massage can be included as a pre-performance warm-up step as it stimulates blood flow in the muscles providing flexibility and supply of oxygen.
    • A form of massage known as Rehabilitation Massage is designed specifically for treating injuries that allows restoration of muscles to a fit state so that athletes can return to their sport with minimal recovery time.

Tissue Damage Strategies

  • Cryotherapy
    • A mode of treating muscle injuries that involves cooling and compression.
    • Cryotherapy triggers vasoconstriction that helps in slowing down tissue inflammation and building up of wastes.
    • Ice massage is a common method of cryotherapy where ice blocks are consistently run over the injury location.
    • Helps in realigning of muscle fibre and removal of lactic acid.

Psychological Strategies

  • Relaxation
    • Putting the body and mind in a state devoid of anxiety and stress.
    • Useful for situations where athletes may feel a lack of concentration and confidence following extensive training and repetitive tasks.
    • Relaxation triggering factors differ from person to person.
    • Common techniques include:
      • Music
      • Reading
      • Meditation
      • Walks