The Importance of Recovery for Student-Athletes
Varsity athletes are wired to work hard. Push through the pain of training, envision winning, and do what it takes at practice to achieve all that we set out to do in the season. Day in and day out you’ll find the Vikes athletes out sweating and grinding as they work through their practices meticulously and push each other to be their very best self.
All of that work must be supplemented with recovery. What is the point of working so hard at practice if you let it slip through the cracks by spending nights hunched over at a desk till 1AM cramming for exams, going out drinking every weekend, or forgetting to eat a good meal in the day between practice and class? I’ve learned through experience that proper recovery is very underrated, and can make all the difference when it comes to reaching your performance goals.
Recovery is important for EVERYONE, regardless of if you are an athlete or not, and if you are pushing your body or mind to do something at an optimal level, you want to give yourself the best chance to do so.
Here are a few things that I’ve learned are important for proper recovery:
1. Take the time to stretch
Spend time every night, or at least few times a week working on mobility and flexibility. Buy a lacrosse ball and use it to use it to roll out those tight spots on the body, lie on a foam roller, work on hip opening stretches.
It may seem tedious, but if you make this a habit there will be results and will help with injury prevention. This also is a nice way to wind down before bed and will help you sleep better.
** Take breaks from sitting ** (!!!!!). Sitting in a chair for hours on end is not a good thing. Have to spend a long time in the library? Set reminders to walk around and stretch every hour or so.
2. Eat well
Take the time to prepare meals that will fuel you throughout the day. Plan your weeks out to avoid the last minute dash to the nearest quick and unhealthy option.
Cooking is not as time consuming as it seems; it just takes a little bit of early preparation/thought when getting groceries and figuring out what ingredients can be used in multiple variations of meals throughout the week.
Stay tuned for an upcoming post I’m putting together to give some ideas for easy and quick meal ideas!
Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself to stay hydrated.
Buy yourself a nice water bottle, throw some electrolytes in it so your body retains it, and keep sipping.
My sports physiologist, Trent Stellingwerff, always reinforces the concept that sleep is the easiest and cheapest performance enhancer. It’s worth making time for, and can be detrimental if you aren’t able to get enough of it.
It’s important for cognitive functions and athletic performance. Wind down before bed, get away from the screens (yikes, I’m very guilty of this), and manage your time to get snoozing at a reasonable time so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle another day!
These four things are so important for staying healthy, making the most of your training, and being able to perform well in school – it’s worth investing time in yourself to make all of your hard work reap the full benefits.