The importance of sports recovery

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Football players passing ball

Got an athlete in the house? Whether she is hitting the soccer field or he’s going for it on the gridiron, what happens post-practice or after a game is just as important as the workout on the field. Allowing muscles to recover properly is essential for a healthy season — and off-season training regime.

Muscle fibers can fray and become damaged during a strenuous workout or game. Follow these five steps for a successful season:

1) Pump up protein

After a workout, athletes need a combination of carbohydrates and protein to replenish and help rebuild muscles. Follow the 2:1 ratio rule to make sure you have the right calibration for optimal absorption of protein. The quickest way to get a proper amount of carbohydrates and protein is through a recovery drink.

2) Stretch it out

Even if you are sore, gentle stretching is necessary after a tough workout or intense game. It can improve circulation, increase range of motion, decrease muscle tension and help prevent joint stiffness. A good stretching routine can take as little as 10 minutes. Remember to avoid over-stretching and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.

3) Stay hydrated

You hear it all the time, but stay hydrated before, during and after a workout game or practice session. During exercise, when your body loses fluid and electrolytes through sweat, it is crucial to get the extra eight ounces experts recommend athletes drink for every 15 minutes of activity. Drinking low-fat chocolate milk, such as Rockin’ Refuel Muscle Recovery, after exercise not only provides the carbohydrates and protein needed to refuel and repair muscles, but also it helps replenish fluids and electrolytes (such as calcium, magnesium and potassium) that are lost in sweat.

4) Rub it out and ice it down

Some athletes pack on the ice bags as soon as they are done with a game or workout. This helps reduce swelling and tames soreness. Pack ice on sore muscles and wrap them with plastic wrap to conform to the muscles in need. Invest in a high-quality foam roller.

5) Rest

Rest not only provides a mental break, but also allows the body time to mend and repair frayed muscle. Cut rest, recovery, nutrition, hydration or stretching out of your exercise plan and your performance is sure to suffer.

Courtesy of Family Features