Recovery is a key component of any training program. There are a large variety of recovery techniques that prove to restore the human body both psychologically and physiologically. These techniques are crucial in decreasing tissue trauma and inflammation and correcting the muscular imbalance.
One of the most important recovery techniques you can incorporate into your training program is foam rolling. Foam rolling, which is also known as a self-myofascial release, reduces inflammation, scar tissue, and joint stress, and improves circulation and flexibility. If you don't own a foam roller, you can freeze a water bottle and use that to roll out your muscles. All you need to do is slowly roll the targeted area until the most tender spot is found. Hold on that spot between 30 seconds and 90 seconds. The infographic below shows the muscle groups that are most benefited by foam rolling.
A fairly new and trendy recovery method is whole body cryotherapy. Essentially, cryotherapy is a procedure that exposes the body to temperatures colder than negative 200 degrees F for two to four minutes. This process lowers tissue temperatures and also dampens pain. A possible explanation for this analgesic effect is that the cold slows the speed at which nerves fire while constricting arteries and veins and limiting blood flow, which reduces inflammation. There is contradicting evidence as to whether or not this technique aids in recovery, however, most studies indicate that people have an overall improvement in mood and perceived pain.
Active recovery is one technique that many athletes use as a way to assist in the removal of lactate acid from the body. Taking the time to properly cool down after a run or training session has been proven to decrease the effects of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Try walking for 5 minutes or performing a few minutes of light bodyweight training at the end of your workout. You can also add an active recovery day to your workout regimen by choosing low to no impact exercises and focusing on stretching and foam rolling on the days following an intense training session.
There are dozens of different approaches you can use to recover after a tough workout. No matter which you choose to implement into your training program, it is important to always stay hydrated, fuel your body with the proper nutrition, make sleep a priority, and always take the time to properly stretch and cool down after a workout.