When you work hard in the saddle and/or the gym, sore muscles become a regular part of life. Soreness is a great reminder that you’re pushing yourself, but recovering correctly is crucial to your longevity and performance the next day.
You’re probably icing your horse and making sure he has the right diet, but are you doing the same for yourself? Here are a few methods of recovery to be aware of, and the best way to see what works for you is to try it incorporating it into your routine and making notes of how you feel afterwards and in your next workout/ride.
- Cryotherapy. AKA – cold therapy. Icing or cold hosing is a regular occurrence in the barn, but did you know that a lot of top athletes in other sports use ice water plunge pools or those scary-looking cryo tanks to help their bodies recover? Even Lebron James does it. You can fill up a tub at home with ice and cold water for a cost-effective version, or you can go to a spa or recovery center and try one of the tanks.
- Heat therapy. Of course, Back on Track products have become the gold standard on this for horses, and the mesh sheets and wraps can be seen at any horse show on some of the top horses in the game. But they also make human products like shorts and back braces, so you can reap the same benefits you give to your horse.
- Nutrition. This is a big one. Eating plenty of healthy fat, protein and carbs is the best way to fuel yourself before and after a workout. There are lots of schools of thought on which eating plan is best, but you can start with the basics by getting adequate lean protein and eating a variety of vegetables – more than 5 handfuls a day.
- Acupuncture, physiotherapy, chiropractic care, and massage. Everyone prefers different things, but if you’ve never tried any of these methods, don’t rule them out. I personally love acupuncture and myofascial release, but everyone has different needs.
What are some of your own recovery tips?