Swimming is a full-body workout. It means that all your muscles work while you’re swimming, but it also means your muscles will need to recover after every training. If you do it the fastest possible and the most efficient, your body will become stronger. The science behind this is the fact that recovering means your body has repaired, all damage caused by workout became a strength, and you finally see the benefits of your training. There are some ways on how to make the most out of your recovery, and in this article, you’ll read about them.
To Rest Or Stay Active
One of the most “used” techniques for after-workout recovery is as simple as it says – resting. Sit down, or lay down, give your body a chance to regenerate, and once you’re done, go back to the swimming pool or the seaside. Don’t think about it as laziness, resting is necessary not only for your physical body but also for your mental health, as it will keep your training potential on the highest level.
But there are some other things you could do besides resting, that will help your body heal maybe even faster than simply resting. It is called “active recovery”. These types of recovery include easy swimming, gentle stretching, cross-training, and weight training on low intensity. Don’t push it too hard – remember, the goal is to recover, not to get hurt!
Take A Relaxing Laps
Once you’re done with your training session, don’t get out of the pool instantly. Instead, let your body relax and slowly warm down by swimming some easy and slow-paced laps. This way you’ll let your body break down and properly use all the chemicals produced by the workout stress during hard parts. If you decide you should skip it, think again. Firstly, once when you stop swimming, muscles demand less oxygen and your heart slows down because it doesn’t need to push the blood through your body so fast.
It also transports the waste products leftover from your metabolic process to your body organs and gets them broken down and removed. By sudden stopping instead of slowly swimming and letting your body adjust to the slower tempo, it will take far more time for it to filter the waste and refill the energy.
Keep your blood moving, let the needed nutrients and unwanted waste be transported to their dedicated location by keeping your heart rate up by taking slow and relaxing laps, as it will do that without creating more of the waste products. If you wonder how much should you do – three of four easy laps will do the trick, but even one or two is better than none.
What And When To Eat And Drink
Right after you’re done with your training and your relaxing laps you should grab a snack from your bag. Your body burns lots of “fuel” and use your carbohydrate stores while you swim. Once you’re finished, you have about 15 minutes, although some say it can go up to an hour, to efficiently refill your carbohydrate stores, after which it takes a lot more time to do so.
That doesn’t mean you should eat a steak right away – keep it simple, fresh, and balanced. It is recommended to eat something that has a 3-to-1 or 4-to-1 carbohydrates-to-proteins ratio. Even around 100 calories of these types of snacks will make your body start its recovery way faster. This is especially important if you swim every day. If you have two or three practices a week, you’ll probably have more than enough time to fully recover before the next practice. But if you have swimming sessions every day, or have two sessions daily, having your energy restored before the next practice is probably the most important thing you should do, as it will keep your body as fresh as possible for the next workout.
Also, being in the water doesn’t stop your body from dehydration, as you sweat during the practice. Make sure you have some kind of non-alcoholic drink by your side if not possible during, then right after your swimming workout. The sooner you drink something, the better, same as with snack – it will help you regenerate faster and make the recovery easier by replacing used fluids.
Make Sure You Sleep Enough
Most of the repairs your body needs are done with the help of growth hormones, and they work best while you’re sleeping. This means getting eight to nine hours of sleep every night is a good idea, combined with a short nap during the day. If you wonder when it is the right time to take the nap, pay attention to your body, and listen to the signs. See what fits you best, while making sure it doesn’t affect your daily routine and your tasks. But it is probably a good idea to take a nap rather sooner than later, as having a late-afternoon nap will keep you awake during the night and prevent you from your much needed night rest.
We’ve already stated that you should wrap up your training with a few slow-paced laps, letting your body relax, but you could also do a whole recovering session. If you have responsibilities or work late in the afternoon, starting your day with a swimming session is a great way to “open” the day. Once you’re done with your job, it is recommended to hit the pool again and swimming for about half an hour at a slow, relaxing pace, keeping your heart in the working zone.
If you can’t manage to get to the pool, make sure you take your time to stretch once you get home. There are lots of tutorials on the internet on how to properly stretch, or you could even take a few yoga lessons to learn the secrets and the importance of stretching. And if the stretching and yoga don’t seem fun enough, take your bike for a (slow and easy) ride!
Threat Yourself With A Massage
Swimming is done, you’ve dried yourself, now you need to relax completely, and one of the best ways to do that is by getting a massage. It has lots of health benefits – firstly it stimulates your blood flow and causes your lymph fluids to move, it helps you prevent injuries, lowers your heart rate, reduces the blood pressure… It will help you recover, while also helping your overall body health. So finding a sports massage saloon and visiting it regularly will help you recover way faster.
Keep The Tabs
Make sure you keep tabs on your recovery activities for at least a month. Write down what you ate, what did you to recover, and how well it worked out for you. Once you find the right formula that works the best for you, stick to it.
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Swimming is a full-body workout. It also means you’ll need more time to recover from it to gain the most out of your training sessions. The best way to do this is to stay active. By following these tips, you’ll gain strength, become healthier, and all in all stay in far better shape than you were before. Now go, grab a swimsuit and give it a try – you’ll thank us later!