You’ve likely all heard of or seen sports recovery centres: some gyms have them as part of their facilities, and others have them just for the purpose of rehab and recovery.
In recent years, a few rehabilitation centres have started popping up around Australia. While some of these treatments have been popular in other countries, the growing interest and demand in the benefits of some of these treatments are sparking a new recovery trend.
The following are a few of my favourite post-workout recovery treatments available at centres across Australia. Read on to get an idea of their benefits!
Ice baths are nothing new – professional athletes have used them to recover for years, and it's one of the easiest ways to boost your body.
It’s super important to allow your body to recover after an intense workout. Stretches, massages, and compression garments are all great ways to assist your recovery, but between events and during strenuous competitions, many athletes need a more rapid approach to recovery.
This is where ice baths come in: they can help speed up the healing process by reducing inflammation and delayed-onset muscle pain.
Taking an ice bath helps restore muscle damage caused by intensive exercise. After stepping out of ice-cold water, your blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow, which will help you recover faster. By doing this, you may be able to flush away metabolic waste or excess fluid post-workout, as well limit the inflammatory response and help you recover more quickly.
Cryotherapy, much like ice baths, is once again becoming an increasingly popular and fast way to aid in rehab and recovery.
It's relatively the same principle as ice baths; however, cryotherapy is much quicker, involving a chamber where the participant enters and experiences below-zero temperatures for three-to-five minutes, depending on the person.
Despite the lack of conclusive studies on cryotherapy, many athletes and other users have reported faster recovery and reduced muscle pain. Some even claim that it helped their arthritis.
Let's move on to the other end of the spectrum, the infrared sauna.
Like cryotherapy, there aren't any conclusive studies on the effectiveness of these saunas, but people use them a lot after workouts and many swear by them.
The way that an infrared sauna works is not by heating the air around you, like traditional saunas; instead, they use infrared lamps (electromagnetic radiation) to heat your body.
When you sweat in an infrared sauna, the heat penetrates more deeply than warmed air, creating a more intense sweat at a lower temperature. This means you can stay in there longer, especially considering it’s your core body temperature that rises by two to three degrees instead of more traditional saunas that heat the air around you, which can be a little uncomfortable for some people.
Now, what are the key benefits of using an infrared sauna?
Even though there are no conclusive studies on the benefits of infrared saunas, many people do experience:
These zip-up puffy black boots have been seen on athletes, pregnant women, celebrities, and business professionals (and, recently, me!) – so, why are they so popular?
Just like compression socks or leggings, the gear is designed to improve circulation and allow your body to recover more quickly after a workout. The boots inflate and relax, mimicking the body's natural muscle pump to release toxins and lactic acid and enhance lymphatic drainage. As the boot inflates and tightens around your legs, it feels like a relaxing deep-pressure massage.
NormaTec boots may help to:
There you have it, folks – the four most popular post-workout recovery treatments! I’ve tried them all and I will say that from personal experience, I found that recovery boots are great after a hard leg workout or a long run, and even if I'm not a big fan of ice baths, recovery is faster after taking one.
Ultimately, it all depends on you, your body, and your workouts! Try them all to figure out what works best for you and, as always, even though all the treatments are safe, always check with your GP first.
Our list of sports recovery centres includes those we have tried and tested.
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