A professional cyclist or an amateur doesn’t matter, you need to take cycling recovery seriously.
Professional athletes can frequently train and then take the rest of the day off. For those of us who have typical lives, we fit rides in between jobs, social lives and doctors’ appointments. Your body won’t be content if you don’t take recovery seriously, and you won’t achieve the improvements and advancement you desire.
Here are things you should do after every ride, but especially after challenging events like hard rides or weeks of intense training. The majority of these require little time or effort but can make or break your progress.
Always Cool Down
Your blood flow reduces quickly if you go from a strong activity to nothing immediately. This prevents blood from returning to your muscles so that it can supply them with enough nutrients and help them heal. You can stop this reduction in blood flow by cooling off. So be sure to spend some time doing some slow and relaxing cycling at the end of every ride. After an interval, you shouldn’t immediately hang the bike and call it a day. The other aspect of “cooling down” is related to how hot your body is. Your body will remain in a stressed state for a longer period of time if your core temperature is elevated after a ride. To cool it down go for a shower or even better, a swim!
Give Your Body Fuel
If you’ve ever taken a long, challenging ride and neglected to refuel for an extended period of time, the rest of the day will be spent feeling tired, worn out, and cranky. Depending on how long and difficult your journey was, you may need to rest. You don’t need to recharge too much if you’ve just spent a relaxing hour on the bike – a simple and balanced diet will do the trick. However, if your ride was an intense one, refueling is critical. Within 30 minutes of finishing, you must eat a snack that contains a combination of protein and carbohydrates. Miss that opportunity and your body’s capacity for recovery are severely hampered.
The old “drink water” advice is a part of every single healthy lifestyle recommendation ever and it’s unbelievable how many people still don’t consume enough water. Ideally, you should be drinking enough water while you’re cycling, but we are aware that’s not always the case, though. So if you didn’t manage to drink enough water while you’re cycling, drink it after. Step on the scale. If you’re wondering just how much water you should drink – roughly 1 liter for every kilogram lost, but slowly, over the next hour or two – not all at once.
Most of the advice is already common sense and so is this one, how fantastic would it be if we didn’t need to sleep to recover? But we do, and getting a good night of sleep is one of the most important things you can do to help your body. The hormones responsible for building muscles increase while you’re asleep, and are critical for repairing and rebuilding.
While you should generally strive for 7 to 8 hours of sleep, some can require even more after demanding days or weeks with lots of activity. It’s totally fine, don’t listen to that advice that you should function on three or four hours of sleep. Spend some time recovering, spend enough time sleeping.
Massage For Circulation
If you can afford it, go to a professional massage. You’ll release trapped fluid, boost blood flow, and release any knots. But even if you can’t or don’t want to go get a professional massage every time you’re done cycling, spend some time on a foam roller. Use the foam roller on your hips, back, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and glutes. Any time you experience stiffness while rolling, it’s likely that the muscle is tense and uncoordinated. Having said that, you shouldn’t be writhing in agony. In that case, pause rolling.
Wear The Right Clothes
Although the science behind compression clothing is somewhat ambiguous, many riders swear by it In order to speed up recovery, compression socks or tights can help move blood back toward the heart. Another strategy cyclists recommend is elevating your legs. Simply lie on your back and lean up against the wall with your legs straight. Enjoy some TV time, a podcast, or a nap.