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The Importance of Active Recovery

So you’ve got an injury and you go see a physio, chiro, osteo or myotherapist. Sometimes although the insult or injury is severe, it is evident and clear that you need to see a health professional in these instances who can direct you on an appropriate rehabilitation plan. But what if these initial injuries could have been prevented or that minor muscle soreness that eventually led to a hamstrings or quads tear, which built up over the last few weeks of squatting or training for that marathon in October could have been prevented?

With the big push towards the fitness industry, more of our society are completing training cycles, under the guidance of coaches similar to that of an athlete. However, this still begs the question, do we put as much into our recovery as our training or nutrition. Quite often the answer is NO. Rest and active recovery is essential to performance particularly between training sessions in the build up to a peak performance.

Active recovery is often in the form of low level areobic exercise with the aim to increase blood circulation, elevate body temperature and increase sweating and respiration. Unanimously you want to find the right balance between exerting yourself too much versus doing insufficient activity to reap the benefits.

As a physio, I find it boring and monotanous lying on a foam roller to loosen up my hip flexors or back. Don’t get me wrong, some of these are essential prior to training. However, perhaps we can find an activity more fun and interactive. Perhaps going for a swim to the pool, a bike ride or even a hike up some hills with some friends? The great thing about active recovery is it’s fun and social, providing not only the physical benefits of recovery but mentally getting you away from your training so when you come back its full steam ahead…and who knows perhaps down the track you spend less time foam rolling that back and even less time at the physio.

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