It is important to make the most out of any open time and try to help your body and mind recover.
Attempting to take advantage of these moments of rest can allow you to achieve maximum results during go-time. Here are four tips to ensure that you maximize recovery during free time.
1. Warm Down
Warming down, while seemingly a hassle, is absolutely essential to recovery and preparing yourself for the next practice or race. It allows your muscles to loosen and your heart rate to slow. In addition, it can help you put your stroke back together to reset for the next time you are in the water.
2. Stay Hydrated
Drinking water is an easy way to help your body recuperate. Moreover, it is important to not allow yourself to get dehydrated because you are sweating out so much of your body’s water. There are other fluids that are also helpful in an effort to recover from high-intensity workouts. Drinking liquids with electrolytes can help fuel your energy and performance. Additionally, chocolate milk is a beneficial drink to rebuild your muscles and boost your carbohydrate intake. The NCAA has a helpful article with great advice on how to stay hydrated.
3. Roll Out Your Muscles, Stretch, and Ice
A great way to help your muscles mend is by stretching and massaging them. Using a foam roller, a stick roller, or a tennis ball is an easy way to work out the knots. Icing problem areas, especially your shoulders, can help with soreness and inflammation.
4. Stay in the Moment… But Don’t Forget About the Future
In an effort to make your recovery time as efficient as possible, it is important to focus on what you are doing right then and there. Be smart about the decisions you are making. For example, sit in between races and make sure to get enough sleep day to day in order to get the most out of your practices. But, all of this is setting you up for a more successful and less difficult future. So remember that everything you do now impacts you in the long run. It can be tricky to manage this tough balance, but try your best to stay in the moment while understanding that there is more to come.
With a constant stream of practices during a long season or lot of back to back races in a big meet, it can be hard for your body to recover to the best of its ability. While there might be no solution that can completely allow you to bounce back to 100% after exerting maximum effort, there are some things that you can do to help speed up this process and make the recovery process as efficient as possible.
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