Exam Room – Recovery For Dummies
In previous articles we have discussed the importance of how to warm-up before a round or a workout. We have shown you how to foam roll and how to stretch properly to prepare your body to play. Now we are going to discuss the importance of a recovery routine and explain some recovery tips to help you reduce your risk of injury and help your body recover quicker and better.
A recovery routine is just as important for your body as any other part of your plan. Recovery helps your body stay injury free, as well as prepare it to return to peak shape quicker. The professionals we work with on the PGA TOUR use the same recovery tools you have access to at home, as well as access to in our office. A recovery routine helps our pros to play four competitive rounds in a row every week on Tour. For you, this means playing Saturday and then be able to return Sunday for a second weekend round, meanwhile staying pain and injury free.
These are the recovery tools you have available to at home:
- Rest including proper sleep health
- Proper nutrition before, during and after the round
- Ice packs or ice bath
- Foam Rolling
Rest is not only for the weak. Rest is necessary for our muscles to recover, and for our body to prepare for another round, workout, golf trip, or any chores around the house. Sleep is the most obvious type of rest, getting eight hours or more will help give your body time to take care of itself. The latest research for athletes shows, if you have less that 8 hours of sleep a night, your performance greatly decreases. What is also interesting is one night’s sleep less than 8 hours does not necessarily mean your performance will decrease the next day, but it is the average sleep over the past week or month (average less than 8 hours) that will decrease your performance.
Proper nutrition before, during and after the round also will provide your body everything needed for a proper recovery. Eating breakfast, or even worse skipping breakfast before your weekend round will set your body up for failure, and your golf game. Foods high in protein, such as eggs and meats, and healthy fats, such as avocados, will keep your blood sugar levels stable, giving you more energy and preventing a sugar crash during your round. During a round, minimizing the amount of carbohydrates such as candy bars and sodas will also keep your blood sugar more stable and prevent the crash, which will affect your body and game coming down the stretch. Instead, grab some beef jerky, nuts, a protein bar or a protein shake. Post round meals should include foods high in protein to aid in repair of your muscles.
Hydration is an overlooked, but very important part of your recovery. On average your body needs ½ of your body weight in pounds in ounces of water. For example, if you are 180 lbs, you need at minimum, 90 ounces of water a day. This is a baseline that does not include any activity. A quick tip is to weigh yourself before and after activity such as a round or workout. The weight lost is how much water weight you have lost. Supplement the weight loss with that much water during future activity to minimize lost fluids. The other aspect of hydration includes electrolytes. This does not mean Gatorade, Powerade or the likes. Today’s ‘Gatorade’ formulas contain too much sugar, which can contribute to unstable blood sugar levels and can induce a crash during your round. Instead, grab an electrolyte additive to add to your water, which contains all 5 electrolytes (Gatorade only contains 2 of 5 electrolytes), and any other B vitamins or amino acids are a bonus.
Ice is another great recovery tool. An ice pack on a stressed or injured area will help to reduce inflammation and pain and allow your body to address the issue. Ice baths or cold plunges will help full body recovery rather than just a pinpointed area. This is something we stress with our Tour players, due to the amount that they play. The stress on your body from a week of golf adds, up over time. It will catch up with them over the course of a season. The key is to stay on top of it or get ahead of it. Icing an area that bothers you sometimes, even if it is not bothering you at the moment, will help that area from building up inflammation over time.
Foam rolling is not only good before a workout, it helps to flush out your muscles after activity, to reduce soreness the next day. Foam rolling and stretching post round will help your muscles recover faster, and to help you feeling better the following morning. Especially if playing multiple days in a row, or during a tournament or weekend boys trip. We have already gone over in previous articles how to foam roll and stretch properly. For more information visit our website, YouTube channel or Social Media for more info.
Now here are the recovery tools we have in the office, to better improve recovery and reduce soreness and pain.
- Whole body Cryotherapy
- NormaTec Recovery Boots
- Game Ready
Cryotherapy has become popular in the last few years. Whole body cryotherapy (using nitrogen gas), reduces your core body temperature, acting as a reboot to your body. This will aid in increasing blood flow in order to reduce inflammation and soreness, and improve your recovery. Three minutes of cryo is more effective than an ice bath or ice pack, because it cools your muscles so quickly, it allows the muscles to repair themselves from use and reduce whole body inflammation. And bonus points, because your body gets so cold in those three minutes, you will burn extra calories the rest of the day. This is because it lowers your core body temperature so fast, your body has to spend extra energy to raise your core body over the next 24 hours. So not only are you allowing your body to recover faster, you’re burning extra calories at the same time!
At the office we also have NormaTec Recovery Boots, which is a lower body recovery tool. The NormaTec’s are compression sleeves you wear on your legs, which act as pumps to flush out your legs. The boots are chambered using air pressure (think of a blood pressure cuff), which compress your legs starting at your feet and work up towards your thighs. The boots flush out lactic acid and inflammation, to reduce soreness and allow your muscles to recover faster.
GameReady is another recovery tool we use. Think about it like the NormaTec boots meets ice or cryotherapy. By combining compression, along with ice, it allows for even better and more targeted treatment to sore or injured muscles. The GameReady is used after surgery, to improve inflammation and improve recovery times. The GameReady can be applied to almost every body part, including shoulders, elbows, wrists, back, hips, knees and feet.
We travel with both the NormaTec boots and GameReady every week on the PGA TOUR. This is what keeps our guys competing at a high level, week after week, and more importantly, keeping them injury free. Proactive treatment, rather than reactive, to soreness, inflammation or pain, is the key to playing your best golf, and increasing your longevity in the game.
Massage therapy is the last but not least recovery tool available at our office. Massage therapy will flush your body from lactic acid and inflammation to improve your recovery. Post round flushes and stretches, are the key to keeping our tour players healthy and to maintain their flexibility.
We’ve provided you with many different recovery ideas to implement into your routine. Whether at home, including better rest, hydration, nutrition or in the office with Cryotherapy or massage therapy. No matter what you decide to do, the goal of this article is to stimulate your thinking, and to see what aspects of your daily life either lacking, or could be improved.
We challenge you to try to do some type of recovery mentioned, whether after a weekend round of golf, or workout, or just simply implementing into your daily life routine. These tips and tools will not only help you feel better, but also allow your body to be ready to return the next day, one day older but feeling younger at the same time.
Contact us for more info
ChiroSport Specialists of Dallas
4950 Beltline Rd. Ste 100
Dallas, TX 75254