Exercise Recovery Tips I Wish I’d Known

Do the common aches and pains of an exercise program discourage you from keeping up with it? Here are some tips I wish I’d learned long ago that not only help speed up your recovery time but offer great health benefits on their own.

Cold Comfort — “Comfortable” is probably not the right word for this treatment but the use of freezing or near-freezing temperatures (known as cryotherapy) can lead to an enhanced immune system and increased cell longevity as well as decreased levels of inflammation. Cold showers are easiest way to start: ten minutes of normal water temperature followed by two minutes of cool-to-cold water, repeated 2-3 times, can help you recover more quickly.

Take a Load OffDeloading is a trendy word for “recovery week,” a period that should be incorporated into a training plan every four to eight weeks.  Think of continuous exercise as similar to injury or illness: during your week of recovery, you’ll grow stronger. However, recovery week does not mean cutting out all exercise and laying around on the sofa. Yoga, mobility work, drills or learning new movements and skills make great compliments to any routine and can be emphasized during recovery.

Compression socks and kinesiotape are great tools for recovery as well as performance

Main SqueezeCompression gear is thought by some to improve and support the blood flow, leaving the body less stiff and sore when worn during non-activity like sleeping. While there is some general disagreement about whether compression gear helps increased blood flow and assists removal of waste products, wearing compression clothing can at least provide support and increase confidence in movement.

Tape OpKinesiotape operates similarly to compression by creating a new area for the blood to flow through lifting the skin away from the muscle and providing stability around the taped area. We use kinesiotape with our patients a lot here at CT.

Using a foam roll helps muscles release tension and increases circulation and recovery time

Rock and RollBody rolling using foam rolls, balls, etc. encourages the release of muscle knots/trigger points, increase circulation and promoting healing. Once you learn the proper protocols (there are dos and don’ts) of rolling out various areas, body rolling is an incredibly effective form of massage/self-treatment. We can help!

Eat Smart — Choose anti-inflammatory foods like pineapple, blue, red and purple fruits (esp. berries) and vegetables along with herbs like ginger and turmeric. Avoid processed foods and sugars, unhealthy fats, excessive alcohol. Simply put, anti-inflammatory foods help the body recover more quickly, while foods that drive inflammation can prolong recovery and can increase risk of illness.

Mg MicroMagnesium micronutrients are very effective in decreasing muscle soreness and can be supplemented with diet (avocado, nuts, legumes, seeds, whole grains) or by Epsom salt baths. 

Let’s Get Started! — As the personal trainer here at Creative Therapeutics, I work in close conjunction with the clinical staff to help clients of all times develop a routine that works for them. I’m always happy to share my thoughts on exercise, recovery, and nutrition, and I’ve coached everyone from high-level athletes to patients just out of therapy or with chronic conditions that have kept them from being as active as they’d like. Call 815-758-5508 if you’d like to learn how I can help get you moving and improving.

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