Major League Baseball season is in full swing so we’re sharing our top 7 post-game recovery tips to help you maximize results and minimize injuries.
Proper recovery techniques are essential for staying healthy and being on top of your game, whether you’re a professional or a weekend warrior. Recovery helps you maintain strong, flexible muscles and tendons, as well as keeping your joints stable and mobile.
How to Be Game-Ready
Throwing a ball at high speeds, running, and sliding into third base takes a toll on your entire body. So, after a tough game, you might want to fall into your recliner and chill for the rest of the day. However, that won't keep your body in game-ready condition all season.
Here are our top 7 post-game recovery tips:
- Active Recovery – Performing 5-15 minutes of light cardio and 5 minutes of stretching after intense exercise helps speeds recovery by increasing blood flow to the muscles and tendons, and signals proteins to begin healing damaged tissues. Active recovery also helps reduce or alleviate delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Be sure to stretch all muscle groups – not just your arms and shoulders – for optimal results.
- Refuel – Eating healthy carbohydrates and proteins within 30 minutes after exercise is needed for refueling your muscles. Healthy carbs, such as whole-grain bread, whole-grain cereal, fresh fruits, and vegetables, are partially converted to glycogen and stored in your muscles to fuel your body during exercise. Healthy proteins, including lean meat, poultry, eggs, low-fat cheese, and beans, help repair damaged muscles. Clean protein powders are also a good option.
- Rehydrate – An essential part of recovery is hydration. Replacing the fluids lost from sweating is imperative to restoring your electrolyte balance. Remember, water is the best option, over sports drinks, for hydration – before, during, and after the game.
- Cold Therapy – Applying ice packs to your overworked rotator cuff or other muscles for up to 20 minutes at a time can help reduce inflammation and pain. Repeat hourly, as needed, for up to three days. Remember, never place ice directly on your skin. Use an ice pack or wrap a bag of ice in a towel before placing it onto the affected area.
- Electrical Muscle Stimulator (EMS) – A muscle stimulation device, also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), delivers electrical pulses to your motor nerves through electrode pads placed on your skin. The electrical pulses create muscle contractions, which help speed recovery, decrease pain, and increase muscle strength.
- Massage – Massage helps your body release important nutrients that are trapped deep inside your muscles and it aids in reducing DOMS. You don’t need an expensive massage therapist, either. You can get great results from an over-the-counter percussion massager.
- Sleep – Muscles require sleep for recovery. There are two main stages of sleep, REM (rapid eye movement) and Non-REM sleep, which occur in cycles throughout the night. REM sleep helps restore the brain and provides energy for your waking hours. Non-REM, which accounts for about 40 percent of your sleep time, is when your breathing slows, blood pressure, and blood flow to your muscles increases, fueling them with oxygen and nutrients and contributing to muscle repair. Also, during the non-REM phase, your pituitary gland secretes growth hormone, stimulating muscle growth and repair. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, especially pre-and post-game days.
When to See a Doctor
If your symptoms don't improve within a few days, or if your injury is serious, don't wait to seek help from a medical professional.