Muscle Recovery Tools

By Julia - 15:18:00

I've now once again entered a time of more intense training: I'm getting ready for my next fight and I hope to run a (for me) long-distance race next spring. It can be difficult to juggle all this and not get injured which would mean cancelling all these plans.
Above anything else, training more often requires a healthy relationship with your body. I wrote about this before and how tricky it is to listen to the signals your body gives you: are you actually tired from training and would need a rest day or should you keep pushing because you're just dealing with a motivational low and discipline is key? So we keep on listening, learning and trying to do the right thing however complicated it may be - I'm afraid there are no shortcuts to a functioning mind-body connection.

When it comes to regaining muscle health, I believe in active recovery. Which can mean an easy run on sore legs or a slow and strong Yoga session to help with an overall tight body.

If you are one a more strict training plan, dealing with sore and tight muscles is an everyday occurrence, varying in severity.
At the moment I try to have at least one full rest day and if I feel like skipping another training I will.
If you're interested, you can find a few of the tools I use to help my body recover below.

Acupuncture Mat.
I love this thing! I know people who do not like these but it's the epitome of comfort to me. My shoulders are a particular tight part of my body and I often get headaches because of it. Relaxing on this mat - I would use it before falling asleep at night in bed - helps a lot. Aside from after sport I especially go for it after long car drives.

Horse Balm.
Made to help with tired legs, this stuff cools and relaxes. I believe in the power of nature and will always gravitate towards a more natural remedy. Horse chestnut extract (strengthens the vascular system, especially supports the function of the veins and stimulates blood circulation), camphor extract (helps with blood circulation and muscle relaxation)and arnica extract (helps f.e. against pain and inflammation) are the herbs working for you. Great after running. Accompanied by a gentle massage it does wonders. I use this one, it smells great, is organic and vegan/cruelty-free.

Massage ball/ Tennis ball.
I don't really use a foam roller. Not for any specific reason, I just never reach for it. But if I feel deeper tensions or knots in my muscles I use a massage ball to get my muscles to ease up. It is as effective as it is painful! When I go see my parents I get on my mothers ballance balls (these ones) and it's a torture. But it works! By myself, I use a hard rubber massage ball but any tennis ball will do. Lie down, place the ball under the muscles you want to target and gently move around on it. Great as well for the feet: sit down and play around with the ball under your sole.

Just this much: having stretch sessions when you not in a hurry will do so much for you. I stretch after training but I'm tired, hungry want to be done, whatever. So a few times a week I try to get on my mat and spend some relaxing time doing stretches.
I talk so much about how this helps me against tension and for more mobility, so here are just a few links to my favourite videos to go to if you need a good stretch.
Full Body Stretch/Cat Meffan
Full Body Stretch 2/Cat Meffan
Deep Stretch/Adriene
Bedtime Yoga

Last but never least. I live with a dog so walks are multiple times a day occurrences and there is no getting around it. Luckily! It is such a good basic way to recover. I promise, however sore you are, you will always feel better after a walk. Slow, short, doesn't matter. Just get the blood circulation going, get the muscles stretched out and moved.

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