Intense exercise requires recovery, both in the short term and in the long term. Short-term recovery—also known as active recovery or the “cool-down” phase—occurs in the hours immediately following exercise. Light activity during this time boosts blood flow and circulation and has been shown to quicken overall recovery time and improve athletic performance. Why is recovery important for athletes? It’s simple: if you want to perform your best, you can’t afford to skip out on any part of recovery!
What counts as active recovery for athletes? Any activity that raises your heart rate above resting can work, although you may get the best benefit from activities that use a different movement pattern. Focus on fun, low-intensity activities that boost circulation and encourage fresh blood flow. Better circulation helps break down waste products in the soft tissues, and when your heart is busier pumping blood through your system, more nutrients are carried to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments to aid in their recovery.
Choose something fun, relaxing, and low-pressure for your active recovery phase. Good examples include:
Don’t forget healthy calories! When it comes to the post-workout phase, nutrition goes part and parcel with activity. Pair your active recovery with the right balance of macronutrients to replace protein and carbohydrates.
Not sure where to start, or what recovery for athletes should look like for your sport or ability level? Dealing with a chronic or recent sports injury? Stop by the Chicago Recovery Room to speak with a certified Athletic Trainer to determine your next steps–whether that’s a visit to an orthopedic doctor or a physical therapist or a series of tune-up sessions to help you get your recovery back on track.
Whether you’re in downtown Chicago, the northern suburbs, or Champaign-Urbana, we can help you learn more about the benefits of recovery! The Recovery Room is open to the public and provides you with all the tools you need to move forward, from professional equipment to advanced soft tissue release.