Whether you’re an average gym-goer or a professional athlete, nobody wants to be sidelined by an injury.
If you do find yourself needing to take some time off to heal, these four tools can help you speed up your recovery and get back to your regular routine as soon as possible.
1. Compression Gear
From arm bands to leggings, compression clothing is all the rage for athletes these days.
The belief is that compression helps speed up recovery by improving circulation to the damaged area. When more blood flows to the site of the injury, the tissue receives the oxygen it needs to repair itself.
Compression also stimulates the flow of lymph fluid. Lymph fluid carries nutrients that are essential for healing the body’s tissues. It also removes waste from the tissues and cells.
Compression socks or leggings might not help to heal serious injuries like fractures, but they can be beneficial for muscle sprains or strains since they can reduce swelling and help remove lactic acid.
2. Foam Roller
A foam roller is another tool that can help repair muscle injuries and reduce inflammation. Foam rolling can improve circulation to injured areas of the body and promote faster healing.
Foam rolling also helps break up scar tissue in the fascia (the connective tissue that links the muscles and tendons in the body). Scar tissue buildup and other abnormalities in the fascia can inhibit your range of motion and increase your risk of injury.
By taking time to foam roll sore or tight areas, you not only promote faster recovery, but you can also prevent new injuries from occurring.
To get the most out of foam rolling, keep these tips in mind:
Use your bodyweight to apply as much pressure as you can tolerate (don’t support your weight on your arms)
Roll over your muscles rather than your bones
Use short, kneading motions
Time your foam rolling. Spend between 30 and 60 seconds on each muscle group to avoid overworking one area (this is counterproductive and can cause additional injury/soreness)
3. Balance Disc
If you’re dealing with an ankle sprain or fracture, a balance disc is a great tool to use once you’re able to start supporting your own weight.
After taking time off to let an injured ankle heal, your muscle will have atrophied. If you’re not careful about rehabbing it properly, you’ll have to struggle with imbalances that make you more susceptible to injuries in the future.
By using a balance disc, you can improve your body’s ability to reorient itself when it’s destabilized. You also strengthen the muscles in the ankles, feet, and calves to recover from lower body injury faster.
When you first start using a balance disc, start by sitting on the floor with your feet resting on the disc. Use your feet to rotate the disc back and forth and get used to how it feels. Then, practice standing on the disc with both feet.
When that’s easy, you can practice lifting one foot off the disc while maintaining your balance. You’ll eventually reach a point where you can do single-leg squats and calf raises on the disc — that’s when you’ll know your ankle is stronger than before!
Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for muscle relaxation and recovery. If you’re dealing with a muscle strain or sprain, magnesium is especially important to keep the muscle from staying in a contracted position.
Magnesium also has anti-inflammatory benefits that make it important for injury recovery.
To make sure you’re getting enough magnesium, consume plenty of dark leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale. You can also find magnesium in bananas, nuts, legumes, fish, and dark chocolate.
You can also supplement with topical products that contain magnesium for additional relief.
Popular topical products include bath salts that contain magnesium chloride (Epsom salts), lotions, and sprays. These products are highly efficient since they allow the magnesium to be absorbed directly into the skin and sent immediately to the muscles.
Whether you’re dealing with severe muscle soreness or a longer-lasting injury, these tips can help you speed up recovery and return to your routine better than before!