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Top Tips To Recover From Exercise Quickly

After exercise we are often faced with muscle soreness and pain; otherwise known as DOMS. Check out my last blog post to find out more about delayed onset of muscle soreness here. In this post I will give you some tips on how you can help aid your recovery with simple processes and routines. Improving these aspects will help you recover quicker!

How to reduce recovery time following exercise?

There are several areas that you can focus on to make sure that you can make your recovery as optimal as possible. However, remember that even when you optimise your recovery you can still suffer with muscle pain. The biggest thing here is to give your body the best chance to repair the damaged muscles and allow for the adaptations. So the areas you will want to concentrate on are:

  • Hydration
  • Diet
  • Sleep
  • Alternative Treatment
  • Active Recovery
hydration for recovery

How to hydrate after exercise?

We all know that we should be drinking a minimum of 2 litres of water a day. However, if we are exercising at a high intensity we are going to sweat and lose fluid. Therefore, we need to consume more fluid to allow ourselves a chance to rehydrate. You are probably sat there thinking, well obviously; but did you know that being in a state of dehydration will slow down your muscle recovery? The process of muscle synthesis is slowed down until the body is rehydrated, therefore prolonging your time for recovery!

What should I eat after exercise?

Following exercise you should look to consume a food with a high carbohydrate content. Depending on the type of exercise you have just done, your glycogen stores are likely to be depleted. Having a carbohydrate snack within 30 minutes of exercise finishing can really help to improve recovery times. To improve recovery times even more, have a protein snack alongside this too.

diet to recover

Does sleep help me to recover?

Absolutely! Getting enough sleep is key in the recovery from injury or exercise. When you sleep, your body releases more hormones such as, human growth hormone. When this is released it helps with the rebuilding and repair phase in the muscles. So getting your 8-hours is key. Therefore, try to switch off from your phones/laptops at least 30 minutes before bed so you can just fall asleep quickly and effortlessly!

How will massage help me to recover?

The key aspect when having a massage for recovery is that it isn’t too deep. The best massage to have to help you to recover is one that finds the balance between a deep-tissue massage and a spa style relaxing massage. Massage will help to increase blood flow to an area, relax the muscles and remove any waste products sat within the muscles. Therefore, why not try it?

massage to recover

What is an active recovery?

An active recovery is the performance of low intensity activity following a strenuous bout of exercise. This will help to keep the blood flowing through the muscles and tissues. Therefore, the muscles will have a continued supply of nutrients and vitamins to help them recover quicker! Aim to keep your heart rate between 30-60% of you maximum heart rate for the best results. There are so many different ways in which an active recovery can take place. The list below will mention a few types of active recovery.

  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Brisk Walk
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What Is DOMS And Why Do I Suffer From It?

In this short blog post we will talk a bit about DOMS and the causes behind it. We will also discuss how to reduce the pain that severe DOMS can cause and also outline simple steps so that you can put in place your own treatment for DOMS.

What is DOMS?

DOMS is short for delayed onset of muscle soreness. This represents the pain felt in the muscles after physical activity. This muscle soreness is associated with a build up of lactic acid and fatigue of the muscles. It is nothing to worry about though!

What Causes DOMS?

DOMS is usually caused by exercise you are not used to. For example, if you have been away from the gym for a long time and try to shift as much weight as possible. You will be in pain! The DOMS is brought on by the fatigue and build of lactic acid in the muscles. As well as this, eccentric exercise related movements have been thought to be linked to DOMS.

knee pain

How Can I Reduce The Pain From Severe DOMS?

There are a few things that you can do to try and reduce the pain that you are suffering with from DOMS. The first is more preventative. Instead of suddenly increasing your workload in the gym or with your physical activity levels, look to steadily increase this over time. It can be hard to not overdo it when training, therefore, if you are suffering, look to do an active recovery. This could be anything from a low intensity bike, a swim or a brisk walk. Getting yourself moving can be great to reduce the pain.

Swimming for recovery

Is it bad for me?

DOMS isn’t necessarily bad for us. However, when we have the muscle soreness, we can quite often take a prolonged break from exercise until we are pain free. So in this sense, it can be a hinderance to performance and physical adaptations. Usually, DOMS just shows that you have taken part in some physical activity that will lead to positive changes in the body.

The key point to remember is that with any sort of physical activity you will place your body under an increased amount of stress. Therefore, if you are suffering with muscle soreness following exercise don’t worry, it shows the body is starting to physically adapt.

DOMS

Whats A Good Treatment For Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness?

Everyone will react different to treatment for DOMS, as it is varies how we all suffer. However, below is a list of potential treatment ideas to ease the severe pain felt with DOMS. You can prevent DOMS by building up your load through your training program and having a varied programme.

  • Massage
  • Active Recovery
  • Mobility Sessions

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Can I Use Supplements To Help Me Recover Better?

In short, yes. Of course you can. In the market today there is a wide variety of products that you can pick and choose from that all do a variety of different things. Whether they help with the preparation or recovery phase of your exercise will depend on what you take. In this blog post, I will try to outline a few different types of supplements, what they do, and how they can help or hinder you.

What do supplements do?

Supplements do exactly what they say, they supplement your diet. They are not a replacement. Supplements can do a whole host of different things, depending on the type of supplement you are taking. Whether you are taking protein powder to increase your protein intake or taking a fruit and greens supplement to boost your intake of micronutrients. They will all look to improve your performance and recovery in their own way. Supplementing your diet can help with:

knee pain
  • Recovery
  • Performance
  • Concentration
  • Immune Function
  • Overall Health

What are the different types of supplements?

There are too many supplement varieties to list out, so we will concentrate on just a few. Supplements will come in powder form, tablet, gummy sweet style and drinks. The list below outlines a few different supplements that you can take.

  • Protein – This is usually taken in powder form and will increase your daily protein intake through a shake. We will talk about choosing the right protein later in this post.
  • Creatine – This is a substance naturally found in our bodies that is key in the role of energy production. This can be taken in powder or tablet form. Supplementing this, will increase your bodies stores on phosphocreatine and increase production of ATP.
  • BCAA + EAA’s – This is branch chain amino acids and essential amino acids. These help with muscle rebuilding after exercise.
  • Pre-Workout – A caffeine supplement that can help improve concentration and performance in an athletic setting. Air on the side of caution with pre-workout though, as some are very potent!
  • Vitamins – As we all know vitamins are fantastic for us! You may look to supplement this to increase your intake. For example, a lack of sunlight can lead to a vitamin D deficiency.
EAA BCAA

How will a BCAA and EAA supplement affect me?

BCAA’s have been shown to reduce the protein breakdown throughout the whole body, which is key to preserve lean muscle. Whilst it has also been shown that BCAA’s can help to decrease body fat percentage. On the other hand EAA’s have been shown to improve lean body mass too. They aid in the muscle protein synthesis process following exercise, to counteract the muscle breakdown caused through intense physical activity. This is a great supplement to use for muscle recovery.

How do I choose the right protein supplement for me?

The protein powder that is best for you is the one that will help you hit your goals. Whether you are looking to lose weight, increase muscle mass or to maintain your current physique; you need to be careful what you select.

  • Increase Muscle Mass – Aim to get a Whey Protein or a Whey Isolate Protein. These are easily digested and absorbed by the body.
  • Lose Weight – You will want to get a protein powder that is low in sugars. This will take a bit of looking around. Most respectable supplement companies will tell you exactly what is inside each product.
  • Muscle Repair – Look for a powder with a high amount of protein.

Don’t rush into getting a protein powder. You can easily supplement your protein intake through your diet. Look at eating more fish, eggs and consume more milk! Start tracking your dietary intake before purchasing expensive supplements!

Swimming for recovery

Can I still recover quickly without supplements?

Absolutely! If you are already having a healthy, balanced diet, you will be surprised with your current intake of your macronutrients. Many people rush into getting supplements, when really it isn’t needed yet. Your recovery will depend on you. Eating right, staying hydrated, working on your mobility and not overtraining will help you. Take a step back and look at your current lifestyle, are you pre-disposing yourself to injury? Or can you optimise your recovery without supplements?

Feel free to contact us, we are more than happy to answer any questions on supplements that you may have.

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Taking Your Sport Specific Rehab To The Next Level

When we get injured, whether it is through running a 5k or playing netball, getting back to full fitness can be difficult. You can completely rehabilitate the injury, but get back to doing what you love and break down again. Making sure you are hitting specific markers or goals you set is key to make sure that when you return to your activity of choice your body is as ready as possible.

rehab

What is sport specific rehab?

Similar to normal stages of rehab, this is where you get your body accustomed to the requirements of the sport or activity you will be participating in. For a lot of sports this will involve multi-directional running. Therefore, you would tend to start with straight line running, building up in stages until you are able to complete change of direction exercises.

Sport specific rehab should cover all aspects of movement, use of equipment and making it as specific to your role as possible. This rehab should be fun and enjoyable throughout, talk with your therapist or if you are doing this yourself, break down your routine when you perform your activity and build this back stage by stage. Be adventurous in your development of your plan, make it challenging but attainable.

For sports such as Netball, you will want to also do positional specific exercises. If you play in a defensive or attacking position you will want to get yourself a netball stand and have a netball. Nowadays, these are well-priced and quality pieces of kit.

Bee-Ball Netball Stand

How to use different types of equipment to hit your goal?

Once you have your netball stand, you can then simulate match specific events for your position. If you play in goal attack, you will want to simulate jumping into the D, catching a ball, keeping your balance and shooting. Having equipment that is specific to your sport can help you in a few ways.

  1. Helps with positioning
  2. Can have a greater variety in your rehab exercises
  3. Makes match simulation far easier
Football Rehab

Having a variety of kit at your disposal can help to develop a sport specific rehab plan that is interesting and enjoyable to complete. Whether that is simply some collapsible cones to run around, a football goal for you to practice shooting or an agility kit to help with change of direction exercises.

Sport Specific Rehab should be the best part of all rehab. It should be the reward for all the effort you put into your early exercises, that can often feel very boring and monotonous. Get in touch with your nearest therapist, then you can formulate a full rehab plan to get you back to your best.

I have limited space, how can I still do this?

A lot of equipment is manufactured to accommodate all walks of life. Netball stands are small pieces of kit that can hide away in a corner of the garden, which is perfect if you have a small space or a large space. It is fully manageable for everyone. Football goals don’t have to have a solid frame, you can buy pop-up goals; in this case the goal is more a target for you to aim your passes or shots at.

Boxing

However big the space is you have available, there are many pieces of equipment that can work for you. Find something that works, and have fun with your rehab!

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To Inject Or Not To Inject That Is The Question?

When having a steroid injection to combat pain, this is usually given by the healthcare professional alongside anaesthetic. This gives immediate pain relief, but dependent on the site of injection the length of relief will vary. Injections have been commonly prescribed in the treatment of tendinopathies, however, despite the widespread use, there is a controversy surrounding the usefulness and safety of the injections.

On the whole steroid injections have very mixed results depending on the site of injury. Short-term pain control, up to 6 weeks, has been reported as good in patients suffering from tennis elbow and shoulder impingement. However, the efficacy of the steroid injections for the long term has not been demonstrated. In comparison to rehabilitation with a qualified professional, the steroid injection provided no true long-term benefit (6-12months after).

In addition to the question of the efficacy of corticosteroid injections in the medium-term treatment of tendinopathy, there is a question of safety with using these medications in this setting. Several cases of Achilles tendon rupture have been reported after corticosteroid injections to this region. More recently, a study completed in 2004 described a series of 83 injections to the Achilles region without serious complication. These injections were performed under fluoroscopic guidance, simply put this is multiple x-rays taken in one go. Of note, only 40% of the patients in this series reported improvement after the procedure at the 2-year follow-up appointment. As previously mentioned, the effects of the steroid injection have shown to be beneficial in relieving pain in thew short term, but how does the combination of steroid and anaesthetic affect the body?

The healthcare professional will combine the steroid with an anaesthetic to provide an immediate pain relief. It has been reported that there are significant negative effects on tendons when a steroid injection is administered. There is an increase in collagen disorganisation, reduced collagen production and a decrease in cell proliferation. Further to this, the mechanical properties of the tendon are significantly reduced. So what does this mean?

It has been reported that the use of a corticosteroid injection has caused a decrease in the tensile strength of isolated fascicles but it is unknown how the injection affects the whole tendon. This weakening, can make the tendon more susceptible to rupture. It does boil down to what you want. IF you have been suffering with this pain for a long period of time and rehabilitative exercises are showing no signs of improvement, then yes maybe think having an injection to allow you to perform pain free. Remember, this lasts up to 6-weeks maximum, you may only have relief for a few days. This is then tied in with the cost of the injection, unless you are willing to wait long periods of time to get referred on the NHS then you will go privately. This can cost more than £200 a time, and the fact there are no true long term benefits it is up to you whether you see if it is worth it.

All I can recommend is that you speak to a physiotherapist or a sports therapist so they can guide you on whats best for you. We are happy to answer any questions you may have contact jason@cardysportsclinic.co.uk or book in to work out whats best for you in the long term.

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What is your tendon pain and how to best manage this?

Tendon pain is often referred to as a tendinopathy, this can be defined as the failed healing response of the tendon. This is typically associated with many conditions that are brought about through overuse in and around the tendons. This is a common pathology observed in runners.

In comparison to muscles, tendons have an oxygen consumption rate 7.5 times lower, this is essential to carry loads and maintain tension. Subsequently, the low metabolic rate leads to a slow healing rate in the tendon.

A term that has previously been used to define tendon pain has been tendonitis. Simply defined, this refers to the inflammation of a tendon. A tendinopathy has been previously classified as the degenerative change of a tendon with an absence of inflammation. Research has reported that this is not true, instead, chronic inflammation is present in the majority of these cases but the exact role this plays on pain and function is an unknown. Alleviating this inflammation isn’t necessarily the ideal answer, the use of NSAID’s* can be detrimental to the healing process.

The classic presentation of a tendinopathy is after a period of increased activity, whilst the increase in subsequent load relates to the pain that is felt. During the early stages of its presentation, pain can be felt at the start of an activity, disappear during the activity and then re-appear during a cool-down. This pain is typically localised and can be described as a severe or sharp type of pain. When this has been present for some time then this pain can be described as a dull ache in nature.

Example rehabilitation for Achilles Tendinopathy

Level 1 - EarlyDaily Isometric exercises
- Seated heel raise: 3 set of 5 reps (each rep lasts 45 seconds)
Marker for Progression
- Decrease of pain to 3/10 or less
- Isometric exercise causes no pain or discomfort
Level 2 - IntermediateDaily Isometric exercises
- Seated heel raise: 3 set of 5 reps (each rep lasts 45 seconds)
Isotonic Exercises (3 x a week)
- Standing Heel Raise 2-legged, (2 sets 25 reps)
- Individually tailored hip abduction/extension exercises
Marker for Progression
- Pain less than 3/10
- Able to perform 20 DL jumps with no pain
Level 3 - LateDaily Isometric exercises
- Seated heel raise: 3 set of 5 reps (each rep lasts 45 seconds)
Isotonic Exercises (3 x a week)
- Standing Heel Raise 2-legged, (2 sets 25 reps)
- Individually tailored hip abduction/extension exercises
DL Jumps (3 x a week)
- 3 sets 60 reps DL with knee bend
- 3 sets 30 reps DL with stiff legs
- 3 sets 5 reps DL forward/back
- 3 sets 5 reps DL onto a step
Marker for Progression
- Pain less than 3/10
- Able to perform 10 SL hops with no pain
Level 4 - Return to PerformanceDaily Isometric exercises
- Seated heel raise: 3 set of 5 reps (each rep lasts 45 seconds)
Isotonic Exercises (3 x a week)
- Standing Heel Raise 2-legged, (2 sets 25 reps)
- Individually tailored hip abduction/extension exercises
DL Jumps (3 x a week)
- 3 sets 50 reps DL with knee bend (warm-up)
- 3 sets 30 reps SL with knee bend
- 3 sets 15 reps SL with stiff legs
- 3 sets 5 reps SL forward/back
- 3 sets 10 reps SL onto a step
Sport Specific Movements
- Steadily build load
- If symptoms increase regress the exercise
SL - Single Leg
DL - Double Leg

Tendinopathies can often hang about for a long time, depending on the type of care you have been given it can either get better or still be painful. This gets you wondering, how else can I alleviate my symptoms without having to do those monotonous exercises. A well known treatment technique for tendinopathies has been steroid injections. This is purely up to what you feel is best for you, here we talk about steroid injections. If your rehabilitation is completed to a high level and the exercises are targeted correctly the pathology should disappear over time. Ultimately, it boils down to the effectiveness of the exercises and your own buy-in to the exercise prescription.

We are able to treat and manage all tendinopathies that present themselves. Book in for you treatment so we can help and assist you.

*NSAID’s – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs