Participating in a mixed martial arts match pushes your body to the limit. Your body likely feels exhausted after a match. Yet, as an athlete, you want to recover as quickly as possible so you can get back out there in the ring. However, returning too quickly can lead to injury if you’re not careful.
Like any sport, you want to take smart steps to protect your body and your health. Think of this as another essential part of training. After a match, you need to recover. Here are actionable ways to heal your body the day after so you can get back into the ring sooner rather than later.
1. Get a Massage
A traditional massage has a number of health benefits for martial artists. Having a professional massage your muscles after a big event like a match will help fight sports injuries, soft tissue strains, and even post-match anxiety. If possible, schedule a sports massage after your match to make sure you’re able to recover fully.
Massages are a regular part of recovery for most professional athletes. Most choose a two-hour session to help loosen any pesky knots. You’ll definitely feel a difference, not to mention your recovery time will be cut in half.
2. Foam Rollers
If you’ve never tried foam rollers, now’s the time. Though simple, foam rolling breaks up scar tissue and adhesions in the muscles. When you finish a strenuous workout, lactic acid settles in your muscles. This is what leads to that feeling of soreness. It’s almost impossible to get this feeling to go away without properly working the muscles again.
While a massage would be an effective way to solve this soreness, a foam roller will also do the trick at significantly less cost. You can find foam rollers at most gyms and in sports stores, and they’re great to use both pre-workout and after a workout.
3. Fluids and Nutrients
Your body works hard during a match. You lose a lot of fluids and calories. While it’s great to drink water regularly while you’re working hard, sometimes you still need to fill up again after the match ends. Water powers your entire body, so make sure you’re drinking enough of it.
Aside from water, restore your body’s lost nutrients. Feed your body recovery foods that repair tissue and build muscle. Now isn’t the time to fall for sugary snacks and junk food. If possible, eat within an hour of finishing the match to build your muscle. Make sure your meals include high-quality proteins and carbohydrates.
4. Restful Recovery
Don’t underestimate the power of rest in your recovery process. Sometimes your body just needs a chance to recharge, and this can be hard for a lot of dedicated martial artists. Your body knows what to do to repair itself. Now it’s up to you to make sure it does just that. Doing nothing is always the easiest part of the recovery, so don’t overlook it altogether by jumping into a workout too soon.
5. Active Recovery
Finally, once your body has gotten over the initial need to rest, you might feel comfortable doing some active recovery. As long as you feel up to it, go for some gentle exercises. Things like swimming, walking, and stretching are all effective ways to actively recover.
When your body performs gentle movements, circulation is improved, and your body absorbs nutrients faster. Low-intensity exercise is used for a variety of athletes, and it’s perfect for martial artists as well.
Do you have a plan to help your body recover after a match? The day after a match is one of the most important parts of being an athlete. Don’t overlook the importance of recovery in your overall training strategy.