There are plenty of amazing health benefits of swimming and aquatic workouts, but as with any serious exercise, there’s also the potential for bodily damage and injury. Overuse and repetitive motion injuries are two big risks associated with swimming. Warm-ups and cool-downs are crucial to preventing injuries, but recovery techniques for swimmers and other aquatic athletes are also important—and too often overlooked.
Recovery techniques for swimmers refer to ways to rest and promote recuperation of your muscles, joints, and other parts in between workouts. This is one of the keys to maintaining a strenuous (and continually building) swimming or aquatic workout regimen for the long run. It also helps minimize or prevent soreness and slow the onset of fatigue during future workouts. Without achieving adequate recovery between workouts, you’re eventually headed for pain, strains, pulls, or other problems.
Here are some effective recovery techniques for swimmers to help prevent injuries by ensuring you body is able to recuperate from the hard work you put it through as a dedicated swimmer.
How to Recover from Water Workouts
- Take a day off from working out at least once every 10 to 14 days; everyone’s body needs an occasional day off to rest and recuperate.
- Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night; sleep is the most productive healing time for your body.
- Stretch all your muscle groups a few times per day. Stretch after periods of movement, though; don’t stretch “cold” muscles, like when you first wake up in the morning.
- Take a hot bath or hit the hot tub for a soak.
- Get professional massages as often as you can. They’re great for muscle recovery, as well as stress relief. Also, learn some self-massage techniques to treat yourself more regularly.
- Take the self-massage a little further by buying a foam roller and employing some beneficial foam roller techniques.
- Eat plenty of protein. When you work out your muscles, you break them down; your body needs protein to rebuild them and make them larger and stronger. Seafood, skinless poultry, lean cuts of beef, nuts, and legumes are rich, healthy sources of protein.
- Drink at least half a gallon of water over the course of the day, as staying well-hydrated is essential to recovery and just generally keeping your body working well.
- Wear compression garments on sore spots, or wrap them in kinesiology tape.
- Take up a gentle yoga class or tai chi, which involve lots of stretching and help reduce physical and mental stress.