Sunday, November 25, 2012

10 Strategies Promoting Physical Recovery for Optimal Athletic Performance

10 Strategies Promoting Physical Recovery for Optimal Athletic Performance

To promote optimal athletic performance, and train at high intensity, the athlete must rely on physical recovery strategies+
. As an athlete you must be prepared to train and perform, day in, day out. To ensure the body can respond to high intensity performance, the athlete must practice physical recovery techniques. This requires discipline, practice and attention to your body. You are not only recovering from practice, or competition, but the daily demand of work, school and home life. These strategies are used as a guide that will allow you to perform at your optimal physical and mental ability. A rested body and mind is essential for the health and well-being of the athlete.

Practice these strategies for optimal athletic performance as you would your technique, training program, or healthy training table.

10 Strategies Promoting Physical Recovery

  • Maintain Proper Hydration

    • Drink plenty of water before, during and after practice and competition.
    • Fluid loss of  > 1% of total body weight can be associated with an elevation in core body temperature during exercise.
    • For every pound of fluid lost during practice/game, 24 ounces of fluid is required to restore body hydration.
    • Refer to Hydration Guidelines

  • Replenish your carbohydrate stores

    • Carbohydrates are a primary energy nutrient, and provide fuel for the working body.
    • Include 3.5 to 4.5 carbs per pound of body weight (8-10 g/kg of body weight).
    • Good sources: raisins, bagel, whole wheat bread, rice, pasta, bananas and dried fruit
    • It is important to choose foods that have high nutrient density for health.

  • Maintain lean body mass (muscle tissue) by replenishing protein stores

    • Exercising muscle must be rebuilt to maintain strength.
    • Athletes should consume about 1.5 g/kg body weight.
    • Choose lean protein sources: Skim milk, fat free cheese, yogurt from skim, 95% lean ground beef/turkey, white meat tuna, non-fried fish(salmon), beans and peas, soy milk isolates, whey isolate, and protein bars.

  • Allow adequate cool-down from training

    • Low intensity exercise for 10 minutes after training session, or competition.
    • Jog, Stationary bike, brisk walk.

  • Stretch after each workout, or competition

    • Perform easy mat exercises, or stretching routine.
    • Perform stretch routine in morning and/or evening for 10 minutes.
    • Interrupt prolonged sessions of sitting while at computer or desk with 3-5 minutes of light stretching.

  • Maintain good posture when sitting at desk, computer and home

    • Poor sitting posture increases tightness and will cause fatigue of muscles and soft tissue.
    • Avoid slumping in a flexed posture when sitting. This increases stress on spinal structures.
    • Postural Relief Measures:
    • Take short, 2-3 minute stretch breaks after sitting for >45 minutes.
    • This allows blood to circulate and changes the loads on joints and soft tissues of the body.

  • Take a 10 minute meditation break

    Meditative Break
    • Relax on the floor with your legs elevated on a foot stool, or just flat on the floor.
    • Perform slow breathing. In through the nose and out through the lips.
    • The abdomen should rise and fall slowly. 
    • Focus your thoughts on your breath.
    • References:

  • Get adequate sleep

    • As an athlete you need your sleep.
    • Optimal sleep is considered 8 to 9 hours.
    • Too much sleep, or not enough effects your mental capacity, physical recovery, and can be the sign of overtraining.

  • Use an ice pack, or a cool body soak
    • Cold is beneficial for muscle recovery.
    • Cold is also an anti-inflammatory, reducing swelling and the accumulation of lactic acid.
    • Walking in a cool pool, or sitting in a cool bath for 10 minutes is good for rejuvenating a fatigued, or sore body. A cool shower can also be used.

     Ice Bath for Recovery

  • Listen to your body

    • If aches and pains persist, or you are feeling particularly fatigued, consult a sports medicine professional(medical doctor, athletic trainer or physical therapist).
    • Do not let minor injuries become serious, threatening your ability to perform at an optimal level of performance.

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These 10 Strategies of Physical Recovery for Optimal Athletic Performance are intended as a guideline. Practicing these strategies will help promote healthy training habits, prevent overtraining and maximize performance goals on the athletic field.