Over the last several weeks, we’ve presented several compelling habits athletes can follow in order to remain free of athletic injury. However, one of the most practical areas to ensure a healthy season is to rest. Yes, you heard us right, one of the most effective ways athletes can remain injury free is by allowing the body time to fully recover. By following these key principles, athletes of all skill levels can greatly increase the likelihood of staying healthy and injury free.
Actively Recover From Physical Activity
Once athletic activity has been completed, athletes still maintain a responsibility to heal and recover their bodies. There are numerous recovery techniques that can easily be incorporated into a post workout routine. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) has long been known as one key strategy in relieving soreness and promoting healing amongst athletes. Some athletic training facilities may specialize in more advanced recovery solutions. THE LAB, located in Santa Barbara, California, offers world class recovery services such as Whole-body Cryotherapy and NormaTec Recovery. While new technologies and sciences utilized by organizations like THE LAB offer convenience to an athlete’s recovery experience, they follow many of the same principles to the RICE recovery program. Decreasing soreness in fatigued muscles may require consistent self-massage utilizing foam rollers and/or massage sticks. Of course, nothing quite replaces the healing hands of a professional massage therapist – so treat yourself! Taking measures to heal and recover the body are important aspects in a holistic injury prevention strategy.
Rest Days Are Important
Athletes frequently train many consecutive days in a row without rest following a common misconception that the more an athletes trains the better they will perform. This is simply not the case, rather overtraining and not allowing adequate time for the body to recover is a leading cause in athletic injury today. Recovery days allow muscles and connective tissue the opportunity to repair in order to increase future performance. Rest days allow athletes to physically and mentally refresh themselves from a series of hard workouts or to prepare for future competition.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep, while often overlooked, is an important component in maintaining optimum health. Proper sleep of at least seven to nine hours each night can have positive effects on both recovery as well as performance. Performance in accuracy, reaction time and speed can be directly linked to an athletes sleeping habits, or lack-there-of. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding sleep medications and reducing alcohol and caffeine consumption can help overall physical performance, cognitive health and well-being. These components help athletes remain free of injuries so they can continue to thrive in their chosen athletic endeavors.
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