Preparing for finals
It’s the business end of the season – finals time. After a long season slugging away through cold evening nights and frosty weekend mornings, finally there’s a reprieve of sunshine beginning to break through. All the hard work and dedication starting in preseason now has the opportunity to come to fruition.
Below are 4 key recovery tips to keep your body fighting fit for the finals series!
1. STRETCHING AND MOBILITY WORK
Although the research is always evolving regarding the ‘best’ warm up technique (previously it was thought static stretches were the way to go, now dynamic movement that will emulate the activity is in vogue), post training and game static stretching still very much has its place.
For running sports, gentle hip flexor, calf and glute stretches are key to staying mobile. Upper body dominant sports rely on opening up through the thoracic spine (mid back) to facilitate smooth neck, shoulder and upper back mobility (note: all sports will benefit from both upper and lower body mobility work).
2. MYOFASCIAL RELEASE/MANUAL THERAPY
Using a foam roller or spikey/trigger point ball before and after activity can be a great way to soothe those stiff muscles. Active release work has a different effect on the body when compared to stretching. There is debate around which is more or less beneficial, but ultimately a combination of both will be key to optimise your performance. Aim to spend 5 minutes releasing before and after training, 2-3x per week. A regular myofascial release by a manual therapist is also of benefit.
3. HOT Vs COLD IMMERSION THERAPY
Again, another topic of contention recently – what’s better hot or cold or a mix (contrast therapy)? Currently it depends which research paper you read. What we do know however is that being immersed in the water (whether that be walking or swimming) has proven benefits in managing swelling via hydrostatic compression, improving lung capacity and provides a great medium to perform some unloaded low impact exercise which is particularly valuable towards the end of a season. For example, if you’re looking to keep up your cardiovascular endurance but your knees are a bit achy, swimming can be a great alternative to give your lungs a workout without pounding the pavement.
4. SEE YOUR LOCAL PHYSIO!
– Physio’s are experts at preventing potential and treating existing injuries via load management. A physiotherapist’s role in sport includes advice on training loads both on the track and in the gym, advice on strapping, bracing and taping, as well as providing hands on pain relief and management advice for both acute and chronic injuries.
If you have any questions relating to our blog, please feel free to give us a call or pop in to Select Physiotherapy and Pilates for a consultation to keep you on the track this finals season!