The Optimal Recovery Methods for Athletes
When participating in any sport you have to allow time for recovery. Some methods of recovery have become more popular than others, but what recovery methods do the majority of athletes really prefer? The focus of this paper is to explore several common recovery methods for athletes’ post exercise. Secondly, to determine which method athletes most prefer when trying to recover their bodies. The methods of recovery that will be focused on in this review are ice baths or commonly known as cold water immersion (CWI), massage, compression garments, and foam rolling of the muscles. Each of these methods have their own unique characteristics of recovery, but which one really works the best?
Cold-Water Immersion (CWI)
Cold-water immersion (CWI) is a common recovery intervention post exercise (Bleakley & Davison, 2009). Scientific rationale is not yet clear for whether or not the use of cold-water immersion is beneficial with recovery post exercise. It is common for athletes to employ a post exercise strategy such as cold-water immersion as a way to speed up the recovery process (Bleakley & Davidson, 2009). Recently cold-water immersion has emerged as one of the most popular forms of post exercise recovery. Despite is growing popularity the evidence from clinical trials his minimal which is why there is little evidence suggesting that it is the optimal treatment protocol (Bleakley & Davidson, 2009). Factors contributing to cold-water immersion that are unknown still is the duration of how long athletes should be submerged, and what the optimal temperature for recovery is. Duration of cold-water immersion ranges from 30s to 30 minutes; while temperatures range from 15 degrees Celsius to a low as 5 degrees Celsius (Bleakley & Davidson, 2009). Although the benefits of cold-water immersion are still not clear it is clear that it causes a number of physiological and biochemical changes in the body. It is most commonly known that CWI induces vasoconstriction, simulating venous return and aiding in metabolite removal after exercise and thus reducing swelling and muscle soreness (Bleakley & Davidson, 2009).
Exercise induced muscle damage commonly occurs after a strenuous eccentric exercise and consists of aching pain, stiffness, and tenderness. As well as loss of muscle strength. The symptoms involved with eccentric exercise usually start within the first 24 hours of post-exercise, and commonly peak between 24 an 72 hours and can take up to 5-7 days to subside fully (Eston & Peters, 1999). Eccentric exercise places high stress on the muscle tissue involved which is the most likely cause of muscle damage. Additional symptoms of post-exercise muscle damage are swelling and a sudden decrease in the range of motion of that muscle group. Commonly after an eccentric exercise it is normal for your muscle to shorten. The cause of this muscle shortening maybe be due to ...