Today, athletes are living in a “brave new world.” The market is saturated with pre- and post-workout supplements, high-tech equipment, and coaches and trainers with decades of experience.
Thanks to all of this, athletes are more primed to perform than ever before. With all this focus on performance and training, though, recovery tends to get a bit neglected.
Most of today’s athletes are so concerned with hitting that next PR that they forget what a crucial role recovery plays, and how simple things - like evening routines for athletes - can help complete the picture.
In this post, we’re going to discuss a few evening routines for athletes that help promote restful sleep, increase training adaptation, and reduce the risk of injury. Let’s dive in.
Whether your an ultra-marathon runner or a novice athlete just getting started in your sport of choice, these evening routines can help you feel better and perform to your highest potential:
Stretching is one of the most important things you can do to prevent injury, enhance balance, and build strength. In fact, in a 2014 study, researchers found that good balance reduces the risk of injury risk by 35%, while more strength cuts injury risk by about 70%.
Fortunately, stretching helps promote both. Athletes in all fields can benefit from a relaxing and restorative evening yoga class, or even 5-10 minutes of focused and targeted stretching.
Not only does stretching help protect performance muscles, ligaments, and bones, but it may reduce stress and promote better sleep, as well.
Most athletes rely on caffeine in some form (either coffee or sport beans) to give them an added performance boost. Unfortunately, caffeine can interfere with sleep and make it more difficult to wake up feeling rested.
To combat this, athletes can benefit from focusing on hydration in the evenings. Decaffeinated beverages like herbal tea or flavored water will help rehydrate tired muscles without creating jitters.
Vigorous exercise creates stress in the body. The difference between world-class athletes and novice ones is that the best athletes know how to manage and moderate that stress.
To relax and treat your body to some rejuvenation, enjoy a hot bath with Epsom salts as part of your evening routine. Add 1 cup of salts to a bath full of water for maximum effect.
Soft tissue work like foam rolling or stretching with a medium resistance band is an excellent way to target problem areas and focus on major muscle groups during your evening wind-down.
Allocate about 20 minutes to focus on trouble areas from head to toe, spending a bit of extra time anywhere that is sore or recovering from injury.
If you want to perform better, you have to recover more effectively. Fortunately, adding these five elements to your evening routine is a great first step.
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