Recovery is a crucial element of your exercise routine that must be taken seriously. A well planned recovery programme allows your body to repair effectively and efficiently, replenish your energy stores and get you back to training as soon as possible. Take a read of our ReallyGood:Tips on how to maximise your recovery after your cycling event.
“Active Recovery”, a necessary evil. We all know that the last thing on your mind after completing 100 miles up and down on your bike is hopping back on the bike or the road to recover. However, exercise as a form of recovery itself has shown to improve recovery time. During and after vigorous exercise, your blood vessels dilate due to the exercise demand. If exercise is stopped abruptly, it causes blood pooling effects, which in turn, reduce the rate of blood flow. This means that the build-up of lactic acid as a result of exercise is not removed properly, in addition, the nutrients that aid the recovery process are not transported around the body sufficiently.
What Active Recovery we would recommend?
- 20 Minute cycle with effort intensities:
- 5 Minutes at 50% effort
- 2 Minutes at 60 % effort
- 1 Minute at 75% effort
- 3 Minutes at 50% effort
- 1 Minute at 75% effort
- 3 Minutes at 50% effort
- 5 Minutes starting at 60% effort reduce to 20% effort
Myofascial Release (Rub down/foam roller)
Massaging your legs can aid the process of recovery by pushing out the fluid carrying waste products of muscle breakdown called lactic acid, and encourages new nutrient rich blood flow to help rebuild broken down muscle mass and remove toxins from the desired area. It has been found that massage following exercise can improve circulation for up to 3 days after. Massage also aids recovery by releasing muscle adhesions (knots), stimulation of mechanoreceptors that moderate pain and improves muscle tone. Also, who doesn’t love a massage! Contact RG:Active to arrange an appointment with a recommended Sports Massage Therapist.
Food is a crucial part of recovering from a long cycle. You need the correct balance of carbohydrates to replenish your stores, and the right amount of protein to repair your muscles.
It is recommended that you eat a substantial meal within two hours of a cycle to boost your carbohydrate stores, as you will have low glycogen stores following the cycle. However, there is also evidence suggesting to eat ‘little and often’ after your cycle including protein and carbohydrates and have a 5-6 of these meals a day, this is beneficial if training later on in the day, meaning that you aren’t too full to train. It is best to follow the routine with food that suits you best, and the food that you enjoy but still offers the recovery benefits post exercise. A good meal with high portions of carbohydrates could include a tuna toastie with wholemeal bread and some salad, chicken salad or beans on toast.
What cyclist doesn’t like tight clothing! Compression garments have been shown to have benefits during the recovery period post cycling, but how can you best use these products? Examples can include compression tights and compression calf socks, these garments comprise of polyamide and spandex. Whilst it is still debated as to whether they offer benefits for all, many studies have shown beneficial effects of compression garments including; reduced muscle swelling, reduced lactate dehydrogenase and measurements of power and strength recovery are improved with the use of compression garments. The exact mechanism behind how compression garments work is unknown, however it is thought that compression induces reductions in cellular trauma within the muscle and increases the amount of oxygen that muscles receive amount of muscle, so post recovery are a beneficial tool to aid your recovery. It is recommended that for the best effects, compression socks or tights should be worn immediately 24 hours post cycle, with a break whilst sleeping overnight.
Sleep we all know it and we all love it. Thankfully it is one of the most important factors of recovery to consider when cycling, in terms of recovery and regular training. It has been repeatedly shown that less sleep increases your injury risk, and one study even found that less than 7 hours of sleep per night increases your injury risk by 170%. Other studies have consistently found that in endurance events, less distance is covered by those who have less hours of sleep per night than those who get 7 or more hours of sleep per night. So after a vigorous cycle, aim to get to bed by at least 11pm to get an adequate amount of rest to allow your body to recover as best as it can.
As you can see, there are multiple ways that you can aid your recovery from a cycle and in order to maximise your recovery and minimise your injury risk, we advise you to try and take on at least one of these tips into your recovery routine.
Let us know how you recovery on our Twitter or Instagram feeds by tagging us – @rgactive