Fitness Recovery to stay in the game
How can I prevent injury from exercise?
There is no be all end all answer to prevent all injury from exercise. Freak accidents happen and bad body mechanics can enhance the chance of injury. You can put together a plan of action to help reduce the risk of injury in exercise. Pre and post recovery workout plans help your body prepare and recover from movement.
Please drink plenty of water. Make sure you’re hydrated before and after following any of the suggetsions below.
What piece of recovery equipment should I have at home?
The single best piece of fitness recovery equipment I can recommend is the foam roller. They come in a variety of shapes, densities, and sizes but can be reasonably affordable.
Foam rolling is essentially a way for you to give yourself a massage at home. You lay on the foam roller using a variety of angles or positions depending on the muscle(s) you are looking to roll out then slowly move your body on the roller until you find a tender spot. Once you do, you hold for 30 seconds until the muscle releases. It comes in handy both pre and post workout. Pre-workout foam rolling can be included during your warm up routine to help with tight muscles, aiding with your range of motion. Post-workout it has been suggested to aid with recovery.
A quick search on youtube found me this video, which gives the basics on foam rolling.
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I have a few in my collection at home and at work – lacrosse massage therapy balls to get to some of the harder places in my shoulders, a 36 inch foam roller to lay on from neck to glutes to roll out parts of my back, an 18 inch foam roller to use at work during lunch breaks, a 2 in 1 foam roller by Reehut with additional grooves to work my muscles differently (as well as have something in the house that’s a little less dense), a tiger tail handheld roller, and a spiky massage ball to roll out my feet.
The tiger tail, spiky massage ball, and Reehut foam roller would be the first 3 pieces of equipment I would suggest purchasing, in that order as you start building out your home recovery options.
Service Providers for Post Recovery
I’m a fan of massage, chiropractic, and vitamin / nutritionists. I try to visit all three as often as I can afford it. Finding a massage therapist who you can visit regularly helps put someone in your corner to work with on your recovery. They learn your tight spots, sore spots, and routines the more they work with you and can make helpful suggestions to improve your pre and post workout routines. Chiropractors can help with realigning you to make sure your body is moving in a more optimum position. And someone who takes the time to understand what you do can help point you in the right direction of what vitamins and food will help fuel your body for an optimum workout and optimum recovery.
On a budget? I use a Tens machine at home to stimulate my muscles. They run about $30. The device looks like an mp3 player and it takes about 20 minutes while you’re sitting on the couch watching TV.
Should I Include Stretching or Yoga in Recovery?
Moving your body is good for your muscles. Stretching tight muscles will over time increase your range of motion and flexibility. Without knowing your particular goals or movement patterns it’s difficult to suggest a particular stretch or yoga class to look into, so I’ll leave that for future articles. Someone who works at a desk all day in a seated position may benefit from spending time on different stretches than someone on their feet all day. Meditation is also helpful for your overall fitness routine. The break for your body and training of your mind will benefit you in even your most intense workouts.
Take time outside of your exercise program to focus on your recovery. Listen to your body. Train your mind.
- Meditation can help you with your focus, mindset and breathing.
- Yoga can help stretch out your muscles, learn body control, and focus on your breathing.
- Massage or chiropractic can work out tight muscles and put your body in alignment.
- Foam rolling can help with tight muscles, blood circulation, and even help as a mental transition both into your workout or back to non-workout.
- Vitamins / diet (with the help of a professional) can put the right fuel into your body to build, burn fuel, and recover.
What you do outside of your exercise program influences how well you can train. The better you take care of yourself outside of training, the higher the probability of you performing well while training.