Feel and Play Better with These Recovery Tips

   Hockey is an intense, fast-paced game that can leave you exhausted, tired, and make your muscles feel sore the next day. Most players spend 3 to 5 days per week on the ice, so knowing how to recover faster is very important if you want to avoid running out of energy or getting ill from exhaustion.  By applying a few tips, you can help your muscles recover a lot quicker and more efficiently. Here is a list of things you can do to help give your body what it needs to recover faster from strenuous hockey workouts.

Drink lots of water or sports drinks during practices or games.
Not getting enough fluids in your body during games or practices will accelerate your overall fatigue and heat stress. As your body temperature increases, performance decreases, fatigue increases, and you can become ill.

   The best way to stay hydrated and fueled for hockey workouts is to drink water or sports drinks during workouts (we recommend a high-quality sports drink as it also contains carbohydrates, proteins, and electrolytes, which will give you more energy than simply consuming water). You should consume 4 to 8 ounces of water or sports drinks every 10 to 15 minutes. (Avoid sports drink with too much sugar).

Be sure to give your body the rest it needs.
Nutrition and proper hydration alone are not enough to enable your body to fully recover from strenuous hockey workouts. Rest and sleep are also very important. To ensure that your body has the necessary rest it needs, you should aim at having at least 8 to 10 hours of quality sleep every night (especially the night before your hockey games or practices).

   If your body doesn’t get the sleep it needs, your body will become tired a lot quicker and your performance will suffer. You should also try to go to bed no later than 10 o’clock, as the best sleep quality occurs between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. Also, try to have a few days a week with very little or no exercise to give your body enough rest to recover faster.

Work on your endurance and stamina.
If you lack endurance and stamina, your body will use a lot more energy and become exhausted a lot quicker. For this reason, it is very important that one of your main goals as a player be to become fit and in shape. There are a few ways to do this:
  1. Work on conditioning during practices.

  2. Undertake cardiovascular exercises away from the ice (inline skating, jogging, and biking). Remember, however, not to overdo any exercise you undertake, as too much exercise will deplete your body more than it will do you good.

Treat injuries and take time off from hockey if needed.
Hockey is a fast-paced game with intense movements, and with contact involved, many injuries can occur. The most typical injuries suffered from hockey players are muscle strains, back ligament sprains, groin strains, hip injuries, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, wrist injuries, hand and finger injuries, head and neck injuries, concussions, contusions, and dental injuries.

   If you suffer from one of those types of injuries, consult a medical professional and follow his recommendations to treat and heal your injury. Many players don’t take the necessary time off to let the injury heal, and they end up aggravating the injury. Give your body the time, rest, and nutrition it needs to heal.

Here is a simple guideline to follow if you suffer a bruise or strain during a game: RICE.

Rest – For most injuries, rest the area until the pain decreases. For simple sore muscles, however, gentle stretching will reduce stiffness more quickly. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds, then rest and repeat five to 10 times).

Ice – Ice is the most effective treatment for reducing inflammation, pain, bruising, and swelling of injured muscles, joints, and connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments. Apply ice for 20 minutes every two to three hours while awake. For best results, place crushed ice in a plastic bag and wrap with a moist towel.

Compression – Between icings, wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage to help control swelling and provide support. Don’t wrap to tightly!

Elevation – Raising the injured area above your heart will allow gravity to help reduce swelling by draining excess fluid.

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to HockeyShot.com for the above article.

Written by CaresEditor · Filed Under Youth Hockey Training

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