Home » Guest Post: Four Tips for Recovering Athletes
- by Cristina Goebel, Owner of Massage Heights Indianapolis
Ever since I was a child, I absolutely loved dance. Growing up in Puerto Rico afforded me the opportunity to try it all, from ballet to the salsa and eventually cheerleading in middle and high school. Thankfully, I was able to follow my passion all the way to the professional level as a Colts cheerleader.
For four seasons, I practiced a minimum of two days a week, from 5 to 10 p.m. Not only did we practice routines and dances, but we also went through a variety of strength and cardio training exercises to keep us fit and flexible throughout the season. Think about the last time you saw a cheer performance. The moves are sharp and crisp, and everything must be perfect. The kick lines don’t miss a beat. But after four years, all of that hard work takes a toll on your body.
When an athlete is training consistently and pushing themselves to reach new heights, it’s important to seek the proper healing and recovery treatments. Typically, the recommended recovery method as Colts Cheerleaders was to place ice where it hurts and/or sleep with a heating pad. I’m here to tell you – there is so much more you can do to practice recovery.
Pursue continued massage therapy.
Massage therapy is my preferred method of recovery, but I wasn’t always such an advocate. I only realized the power of massage therapy after my retirement from the Colts while on a work trip in Texas. During that trip, I experienced the worst back pain I’ve ever felt, and I thought I’d try a massage. I decided to go to Massage Heights and all of my needs were addressed. My therapist explained what he was doing and what exercises and stretches I could do at home to help alleviate my back pain. Fast forward three years later, and I no longer suffer from the back pain I once had, all thanks to the therapeutic regimen of continued massage therapy.
Massage therapy can relieve muscle pain and tension, improve muscle flexibility, and help rehab an injury. Even after one session, the body can feel great relief. Plus, Massage Heights offers unique Sports massages for athletes, which are great for pre-performance, post-performance, training or rehabilitation.
Stretching is a great technique to practice regularly, especially after a tough workout. It’s best to start with your neck, giving extra attention and time to the areas where you’re experiencing soreness or tension. Doing this on a daily or even weekly basis can help to prevent your muscles from getting tight and will allow your body to perform the most rigorous workout challenges.
Ideally, you should spend 30 minutes on flexibility training at least three times per week. But even a mere five minutes of stretching at the end of an exercise session is better than nothing and can reduce muscle soreness.
Create an established recovery method.
No matter what it is, be sure to adopt a recovery routine after working out. If that’s icing after a workout, then keep it up! It’s important that no matter what method you choose, you continue to do it on a regular basis. The best results will come after time and routine.
Here are a few ideas to incorporate in your recovery method:
- Drink plenty of water
- Get more sleep
- Take an ice bath or ice where it hurts
- Use sports balm to relieve aches and pains
Always listen to your body.
If you’re an athlete, it’s likely you push through the pain you’re experiencing in your workouts. But most of the time, you shouldn’t. If something hurts, don’t push it! If you put too much stress on your muscles, it could result in a serious long-term injury.
When you push your limits, you’re actually shutting down the pain signals from your body. If you shut down those signals and keep going, that’s when injuries can and will occur. So continue to listen and pay attention to your body, and in doing so, you will become a better athlete, gain progress you never thought possible and suffer fewer injuries.
It’s important to focus on recovery, just as much as we focus on results. Just like eating healthy and exercising regularly to take care of our bodies, it’s important to use recovery methods in the same way. Routines such as massage therapy, stretching, workout recovery methods as well as listening to your body are crucial to living pain free.
This guest post was submitted by Cristina Goebel, Owner of Massage Heights Indianapolis
About Cristina Goebel
Cristina Goebel is the owner and operator of Massage Heights Indianapolis, an affordable and convenient massage and skin care retreat. Massage Heights Indianapolis currently operates two retreats, one at the Ironworks Hotel Indy and another in Carmel. Cristina plans to open her third location in Fishers this fall.