Fitness Recovery Therapies: Foam Rolling and Icing
Athletes make a point of being aware of the different fitness recovery therapies out there, and so should you. No matter what sport you play, what workout you go for, you’re bound to experience muscle soreness once in awhile. Let’s take a further look at two recovery therapies that many (if not all) athletes use after workouts: foam rolling and icing.
2 Easy Fitness Recovery Therapies
Foam rolling (a.k.a. myofascial release therapy) involves using a foam roller to ease soreness and tension in your muscles. When you apply pressure with this foam roller on certain points of your body, it activates circulation and supports blood flow to your muscle tissue, helping it become more supple and flexible.
Other than providing relief to tight muscles, foam rolling can help:
- Correct muscle imbalances
- Improve joint range of motion
- Support healthy fascia
- Decrease the risk of injury
- Decrease recovery time
To use this therapy correctly, apply pressure with the foam roller to a specific muscle group, such as your thighs or shoulders. It’s important to roll at a slow pace. In about 5 to 30 seconds, you should feel tension releasing from your muscles. If it’s too painful to apply direct pressure on a sore area, try moving the foam roller to the surrounding area and applying pressure there.
It’s normal to feel sore the day after you use this therapy. To boost your recovery, be sure to stay hydrated, eat nutritious foods and get plenty of sleep.
Cryotherapy is one of the most common fitness recovery therapies for athletes. If you think about it, when you injure yourself and experience pain and bruising, you reach to the frozen bag of peas. The numbing effect of the cold “takes the pain away”, it’s a natural analgesic.
When you apply ice to sore muscles, it causes the blood vessels in your muscles to constrict, reducing swelling.
Place an ice pack directly on the sore muscle area and hold it there for 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure to cover the ice pack with cloth so that your skin doesn’t get too cold. You can use this therapy four to six times a day.
In high profile sports performance, it is not uncommon for athletes to totally immerse themselves in an ice bath, especially after intense training or competition event. One has to use extreme caution using immersion cryotherapy, so as not to risk hypothermia. The ice water forces the body to enter survival mode to protect the core temperature. When done, the blood vessels dilate, rushing blood to muscles and organs and flushing toxins away.
The local icing therapy works the same, albeit in a more manageable and less drastic way.
Fitness Recovery Therapies to Train better
Dealing with muscle soreness is no fun. And keeping your muscles and joints flexible and strong means you can keep practicing your favorite fitness activity with less down time. If you regularly utilize one of these fitness recovery therapies, you can release tension in your muscles and feel stronger and healthier for your next workout.
Activ8 Athleticism focuses on optimal athletic performance achieved through understanding, correcting, developing, and progressing one’s natural movement patterns.