As will many sports, cycling does take a lot out of your body in terms of your muscles and cardiovascular system. So it is important to take care of your body on and off the bike.
I'm sure we have all experienced the muscles soreness, fatigue and exhaustion from cycling from time to time. I can't completely be avoided, but there are things we can do to help us recovery better. It is important to take a holistic approach and put recovery into our lifestyles. I would also like to add that if you are experiencing overtraining syndrome, the only remedy is reduction in training, complete rest and change to your training routine.
The sports recovery industry is huge. With so many products on the market promising you faster recover it can feel quite overwhelming to consider all the things that you should be doing to help you recover. So I will share with what you can be doing to help with recovery.
Sleep is probably the best thing that is going to help you recover. Aim to get at least 8 hours sleep. Read my previous blog on the power of sleep. The more that you train the more sleep you need. Whoop is a great app that monitors your sleep and strain and gives you useful data on how you are performing.
Particularly with cycling as you are in a fixed position, it does shorten your muscles, causing tight hips, hamstrings which can often then lead not pains in your back and other areas of your body. Cyclist should stretch at least 2 x week to feel more comfortable on and off the bike and also be able to get into a more aero position. Check out these stretches for cyclists.
Strength training in itself does need recovery, but it relies a lot more on your nervous system rather than your cardiovascular system. Strength training will help recruit more muscles and leave you less susceptible to fatigue. Check out my guide on strength training that you can do from home.
The best form of a massage is from a trained Sports masseuse. They will be able to identify the muscles that need taking care of and use the appropriate techniques. Second to that is using a foam roller or using a massage gun. Although they are a cheaper option, they do take some motivation and hard work on your part. Warm baths are good, but there is evidence to show that cold water therapy can actually be bad for recovery from cycling.
What you put into your body can make a huge difference. No training or supplements can out train a bad diet. You can get everything that you need from actual food. You want to aim to get a sufficient amount of protein in your diet as it will help rebuild your muscles after hard workouts. Find more information of the importance of protein HERE
Relaxation of the mind is as much a part of recovery and should not be neglected. Learning to sit still and do nothing can be a big challenge for many cyclists. But calming your nervous system and learning to deal with stress better can help us be more prepared for the challenges we face cycling.
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