How I work out (part III): rehabilitation

29 maart 2016
I see rehabilitation as a part of my workout routine. It’s just as important as exercise. I used to neglect this part of my fitness regime, like a lot of people do. Now I’m aware of the importance of rehabilitation and I will try to convince you to incorporate it into your own fitness regime. It will help you so much, you will no longer be held back by pain or soreness. Your body will thank you.

I stretch after every workout. Certain muscle groups tend to shorten by training, which increases injury sensitivity. By stretching your muscles, you will become more flexible and flexibility decreases the chance of a tendon or muscle injury. Stretching after a workout can reduce muscle soreness because it increases blood and nutrient supply to muscles. For me, it’s a great way to cool down after an effort, clear my mind and give my body a chance to recover. Once a week I try to give my muscles some rest by doing a full body stretch. Make sure that your muscles are warm before you start stretching. 

If you train 4-6 times a week like me, I recommend self-myofascial release. Self-myo what?? It’s just a fancy term for self-massage to treat tight muscles and trigger points, also known as foam rolling. You roll the foam roller under each muscle group until you find a tender area. Maintain pressure on the tender areas (trigger points) for 30 to 60 seconds. I warn you: when you’re new to foam rolling, it hurts… a lot. You just have to get through the first few times. After a while, you will start to feel the benefits of foam rolling: increased blood flow throughout the body, better movement and increased range of motion.

The easiest way to relax your muscles is taking a warm bath. Best combo for muscle soreness: take a warm bath, stretch your muscles afterwards and get into bed. You’ll feel a lot better the next morning.

If your muscles are really tight, take it slow. Going for a walk can be great to relieve muscle soreness. Rest is so important, your body needs a day off once a week, your muscles need time to recover. For some gymfreaks this is hard but you need rest so you are able to put in 100% for your next workout. As I said before: rehabilitation/ rest should be part of your fitness regime. Your body will take a step forward if you give it a rest day, not take a step back.

In summary: one day of foam rolling and/or stretching and one rest day a week.