Elyse Nayler - APA Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist
SportsPlus Physiotherapy 1/32 Gladstone Road
Highgate Hill QLD 4101
(07) 3517 0850
Recovery refers to the repair process which starts as soon as you come off the court, or finish training or a game. A good recovery is essential for allowing you to get the best possible physical benefits from your physical activity, as well as preparing you for your next session.
By far, the most important recovery strategy is to ensure that you’re getting enough sleep (adolescent athletes may need 8-10+ hours). This is incredibly important! The second most important recovery strategy is to make sure you are rehydrating and refuelling with the correct nutrition.
What else can you do to aid your recovery? Stretching, ice baths, compression garments, and cool downs are all extra strategies that you can implement to give yourself a small, extra edge if you are nailing your sleep and nutrition!
Cooling down or active recovery following training and games helps to reduce the perception of muscle soreness, and slowly gets your heart rate back down to resting state. Ideally this could include 10-15 minutes of the following:
A few slow jogging laps across the court
Walking and doing some dynamic stretching or range of motion exercises (such as leg swings)
Static stretching (the least important element!)
Ice baths and compression garments have been shown to make the athlete perceive they are better recovered if used following training (although there isn’t a lot of evidence about the true physiological benefits). Using foam rollers, spikey balls and massage guns can be beneficial if there are any areas that are feeling tight or mildly sore from exercise.
Remember that the most important thing is to make sure you are getting enough sleep and refuelling correctly after your session, the other strategies mentioned above don’t have much proven effect but work by making you feel as though you are better recovered and fresher the next day!