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Tips For Effective Recovery After A Ride

  • Training and Fitness
Tips For Effective Recovery After A Ride

Rest and Recovery are an essential part of sports performance and should be a part of any training program. When resting, the body adapts to the stress of exercise and this is when the actual effect of training takes place. Not only does it allow the body to rejuvenate energy stores it also allows the body time to repair damaged tissues. The importance of recovery should not be underestimated, and is often considered more important than the actual training. Many people , including pro cyclists and professionals, struggle with the idea of giving up their training time for rest days. However, getting recovery wrong not only compromises the hard effort on the bike but can also lead to the risk of injury, fatigue, lack of enthusiasm and overtraining. The key to prevent this from happening is to find a sweet balance between training and recovery. Read on for some tips for effective recovery after a ride.

IMPORTANCE OF COOLING DOWN AND STRETCHING

After races or intense training sessions, aim for a 10 minute cool down ride. This allows the vessels to contract slowly and effectively expel waste products such as carbon dioxide. A cool down ride is considered the beginning of recovery and has a big influence on how you feel the next day. Another way to enhance muscular recovery after training or racing is by stretching. Stretching helps increase the blood flow to the muscles and improves elasticity and flexibility, thereby helping prevent injuries.

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PRACTICE ACTIVE RECOVERY

The lymphatic system is considered the muscle’s sewage system, and helps transport waste products from the muscles to the lymph nodes. Lymphatic fluid doesn't have a pump like the heart to circulate it; thus depending on the action of the muscles to move the fluid from the muscles to the lymph nodes. Hence active recovery is importance. Essentially, active recovery is doing something active that’s not strainful. It could include a short easy ride, a walk, light swim, etc.

HOT AND COLD THERAPY

Alternating Hot and Cold Therapy simultaneously is a great recovery aid as it helps reduce muscular and body inflammation while boosting one’s circulation. The easiest way to practice this is to switch between warm water and cold water while having a shower.

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NUTRITION AND RECOVERY

The body burns a combination of Glycogen and Fat to fuel a ride. When on a fast or long ride, you may deplete your glycogen stores. As you come to the end of a ride, finish any food you are carrying with you. If you do not have immediate access to a regular meal, aim to consume two calories of carbohydrate per pound of body weight for every hour. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should eat 300 calories of carbohydrate every hour. Pick any food that you like - sports bars, energy bites, granola bars etc. Make sure to read the label to ensure that you get enough calories from carbohydrates. It is essential to note that protein after a ride doesn't help you recover faster. Though you do need a little protein to rebuild muscles, it can be had as part of your main meal.

RECOVERY AND HYDRATION

Water is essential post a ride and is the best hydration option. Other recovery boosting hydration options include - Fruit juices (which provide calories and potassium), Vegetable juices (which provide carbohydrates and sodium), Chocolate milk (for a calorie up), Coconut water and Smoothies made with yogurt/ whole milk/ milk alternatives blended with fruits/ whole food additionals of your choice. Recovery Drinks that are available in the market also make for an ideal post ride/recovery day hydration option. Aim to drink a minimum of 3 litres of water a day,not including any recovery drink consumed.

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Conclusion

Though resting may seem counter-productive while training - it is an important aspect of training and becoming stronger and faster on the saddle. Working a massage into your recovery day could help boost muscle recovery, as well.

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