As you will have seen from the recent Wimbledon, Tour de France and British Open Golf championships, sportsmen and women push their bodies and mind to the limit.
Anyone that plays sports or goes to the gym knows that rest and recovery is just as important as working hard in training. In fact many coaches and trainers would argue that it’s even more important than the training itself as it helps you stay injury free.
Here we take you through the best treatments you can do and the best equipment to use to help you recover from strenuous exercise.
After exercise, one of the best spa treatments that you can have is a sports massage.
Tommy Wilkes, who is a senior trainer at Matt Roberts Personal Training, talks about the benefits of this type of massage post workout.
“One of the most effective methods to assist recovery post exercise is sports massage; this is why so many professional athletes jump on the physio bench post competition. Massage promotes the drainage of waste products via the circulatory and lymphatic systems, helps realign the tissues, and performs more specific and accurate stretching in the muscles and increasing tissue permeability. All of these factors can lead to reduced recovery, pain and potential injury.”
There are lots of other massages that are beneficial for your recovery such as the Elemis Freestyle Deep Tissue Massage, which is where essential oils are thoroughly applied to pressure points to relieve tension, and the 85 minute massage from Champneys as this tailored, full body massage to help increase blood and lymphatic flow.
It has been revealed that the best time for athletes to do static stretching of their lower body is after training sessions. Stretching post exercise is vitally important as it opens the hamstrings, knees, Achilles, calves and ankles as well as increasing flexibility and this can not only enhance performance but prevent injury too.
One of the best activities to try after exercise is yoga and Jenny from the British Wheel of Yoga discusses some of its benefits.
She says, “Yoga is a form of exercise in itself but gentle stretching, yin yoga and yoga nidra (deep relaxation) can help with stress and fatigue. We would recommend Champney’s customers find a good local teacher - you can do this by going to our website and searching on our Find a Yoga Class page.”
Caroline Falce Gozzi, Director at YogaVenue Oxford, says yoga is really beneficial and also shares some tips on the yoga stretches you can do.
She says, “Many people include Yoga as part of their exercise regime as it has wonderful benefits and it is well known that many leading athletes like Andy Murray regularly practice Yoga.
“If you can attend a Yoga class after an intense race this is perfect, particularly something like a Hot Yoga class or a Yin Yoga class. If you can't fit this into your schedule include some simple stretches to release tension in the glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles and through the shoulder area after your race or workout, at least 10 minutes is possible.
“Some simple Yoga asanas [positions] that can help include Downward Facing Dog, Childs Pose, Cat Cow, Pigeon and Reclining Goddess Pose. See if you can hold each pose for 5 breaths or longer if you can. You want to feel the stretch and the release of tension but you shouldn’t push into pain or hold a pose to pain. This is not the objective and will create more tension in the body which is more likely to cause injury. Keep your breath consistent and try to slow it down and allow your breath to deepen. Remember to try and inhale and exhale through your nose. Relax and enjoy!”
There are lots of Yoga retreats available and these can help you recover from exercise, de-stress and invigorate yourself ahead of a future session.
Foam rolling has now become an integral part of training and recovery after an intense workout and is highly recommended by Fitness First Personal Training Ambassador Simon Cowen.
He says, “Using the foam roller on your legs, arm or back is a great way to alleviate tightness and relax knotted muscles, not just in post-workout but pre-workout as well. By applying pressure to different parts of your body with the roller, you aid your muscle recovery and help them to return to their normal state.
“Foam rolling can be used both before and after a gym workout. Whether you plan to take a HIIT class or try a Zumba class, a foam roller will help to speed up the recovery process and minimise soreness.”
When talking about how often you should use it, Simon Cowen says this depends on how often you exercise and what your ultimate fitness goals are. He adds, “If you are an avid runner who rarely suffers from muscle tightness there may be little benefit in using the foam roller on a regular basis. If you are just beginning your exercise regime and experience an uncomfortable amount of tightness, you may want to use the foam roller every other day for a short period. Use the roller until your tightness subsides. As you become fitter, tightness and soreness should gradually disappear.”
If you are wondering about the types of moves you should be doing on a foam roller, Simon Cowen, says, “Target the outside part of your lower leg, which can be associated with shin splits. Start at the top near your knee and work the roller down the leg. Try this in a kneeling position. You can also target the calf in the same position by rotating your leg to the side to pinpoint knotted muscles.
“Foam roll the inner muscle on the front of your thigh by positioning yourself in a plank position. Rock your plank forward and back, with the foam roller underneath your thigh, to relieve tension in that area while also working your abs.”
To help recover from exercise it is important to watch what you eat as this can help rejuvenate your muscles ahead of the weekend.
He says, “Rugby is a high velocity collision sport that traumatises the muscles and joints with impact. This too needs effective recovery to allow the body to be ready for the next session and assault.
“Monitoring your nutrition, sleep and the amount of work you have done is key to achieving the right physiological state so that you are ready to play at the weekend.
“Watch your diet and make sure it is balanced with appropriate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fats and importantly vegetables that can all help the muscles to rejuvenate.”
At Champneys we have our own food philosophy and it’s all about healthy, delicious and beautiful food that steers away from all the fads and fallacies. We also offer a number of weight loss and detox retreats to help you change old habits and lose weight.
The Arctic Ease Cold Wrap can help relieve pain and swelling hours after exercise and David Judge, who is the chief executive officer at Arctic Ease explains the benefits in more detail.
He adds, “The Aric Ease Cold Wrap, better than ice, is a two in one solution that provides cryotherapy and compression to reduce pain and swelling. Our Wrap can be worn, either before, during or after activities. Unlike ice, the Arctic Ease Wrap goes anywhere, no refrigeration required, conforms to the athlete’s body and allows for an active quicker recovery.”
Dancers and sports addicts have long been using the Dr. Teal's Epsom Salts in the US, but now the product is available in the UK.
Speaking about its benefits, a spokesperson for Dr. Teal's, says, “The reason why Dr Teal’s are so amazing at post recovery relaxation is the Epsom Salts are mostly magnesium which is absorbed through the skin. Magnesium is renowned as ‘nature’s great relaxer’ and it soothes away tired muscles and really feels amazing.”
Professional dancer and fitness influencer and Reebok Ambassador Danielle Peazer uses the product to recover from exercise.
She adds, “I have always been a big fan of Epsom Salts they provide the best muscle relief like no ordinary bath can do, Dr Teal’s allows me to take some time out of my busy schedule and recuperate so I’m ready for the next day.”
Dr Teal’s recommends users to tip two cups of their salts into hot bathwater and to let them soak in for 20 minutes, twice a week to improve levels of essential mineral Magnesium.
The full body kit from Tune Up Fitness can help reduce pain in your upper back, shoulders, neck and jaw, as well as your lower back, hips and feet.
Jill Miller, author of The Roll Model and creator of Yoga Tune Up, says, “Conscious recovery from exercise with self-myofascial release prepares you for a better workout tomorrow, and improves your sleep tonight. Self-massage with a soft tool like Yoga Tune Up Balls creates an immediate relaxation response that hastens blood flow to the areas you trained, and stimulates your ability to ‘turn on your off switch.’ Self-massage helps you to coax overworked tissues into a place of rest, and relieves the unwanted stress that training can sometimes leave in our mind and body.”
Image Credit: Tune Up Fitness.