Siobhan Byrne: The many factors that aid recovery
Keeping hydrated, sleeping, stretching and using heat and ice can all help
Last week we started to discuss some of the important factors to bear in mind for recovery, to help achieve your real potential and to allow the body to rest.
These included good nutrition, which is a key point for recovery, and massage and myofacial release, which can also really aid the recovery process. There are many other important factors to bear in mind, including hydration.
I can't actually stress this point enough. Not drinking enough water can leave you dehydrated, tired and sluggish. Water helps all of our functions. You may be surprised just how little water you actually take in.
We can't expect to possibly get the best from our body if we are dehydrated. Try keeping a note of the amount of water you consume in a day and if it's low make an effort to increase it.
Sleep - it may sound simple but we can't expect to recover properly if we don't have enough sleep. When we sleep we produce a growth hormone, which helps our body to regenerate. Not getting a good night's sleep can definitely affect your recovery process.
Stretching or taking a class - it's definitely worthwhile taking time to stretch, because when you train or exercise your muscles shorten as they contract. Stretching each muscle group that has been worked brings that individual muscle back to it's original length, reducing the risk of injury overall.
Keep moving - remember that recovery does not mean sitting on your backside doing nothing, keep the muscles and joints limber by moving. Going for a walk can be good for lactic acid build-up and can help loosen tight joints and muscles.
Using heat and ice effectively - if you train hard, alternatively using heat and ice can be a great way of aiding blood flow to the muscles and thus aiding the recovery process.
Do each exercise 12 times before moving on to the next one. When you have completed each exercise, that is one set. Catch your breath before moving on to the next set, and do three to four sets, three to four times a week.
Time for recovery 2
1/ Start by lying on your side with a roller under the side of your bottom shin, hips on the mat and resting on your forearm.
2/ Then pull your body upwards towards your forearm and roll down the side of the shin.
1/ Sit with the roller under your ankles, with your legs straight and your hands on the mat behind you.
2/ Then raise your hips off the floor and one ankle off the roller. Supporting your bodyweight on your hands roll up and down your calf. If this is too intense simply keep both calves on the roller.
1/ Start by kneeling on the floor with your palms on the ground supporting you and with the roller under your leg at ankle level.
2/ Push back the leg on the roller to allow it to move up and down from above ankle to below the knee straightening your leg as you go.
1/ Lie on your back with your knees bent and the foam roller length ways down your back. Ensure arms are on the ground flat beside you.
2/ Gently roll from side to side.
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