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How To Recover After A Skateboarding Session
If you are like me, you love to skate. A two to three hour session at your local park is not uncommon, and it leaves you feeling great. People skate for all kinds of reasons, but it goes without saying that the health benefits you can get from skateboarding, like how you feel great after exercise, and the challenge and rewards available make us want more. The problem I face, and many other skaters are the soreness and pain after a session. This can be especially evident the next day. Some skaters deal with it differently than others. Some people seem immune to the pain and can wake up every day and go skating like crazy, no matter how beat up they got the day before. For the rest of us, here are some solid tips to get the most out of your skate sessions without feeling defeated the next day.
Skate more often: It may seem intuitive at first, but skateboarding is like any physical activity. If you don’t do it for a while then your body has a harder time getting used to the abuse. Some people live in a climate that is cold and rainy in the winter, so they stop skating for a few months until it warms up again. Then comes the spring their body is not used to all the pounding around and goes through a phase of hurt for a while before it can adjust itself again. If you ride your skateboard more often, your body will remain adapted to the abuse, and it will not hurt as much after a session. This doesn’t mean you go out and jump 20 flights of stairs every day because you’ll get better at it. This type of abuse can lead to serious injuries, but if you skate a little every day, and work to progress through your learning curves while maintaining a positive attitude, you’ll have a better time and enjoy it more.
Stretching before and after your sessions: It’s easy to get a few toes and butterflies right after you start skating hard, and right after you stop skating. In fact, if you don’t make time for stretching, you’ll have to make time for injuries and pain later on. Pro skaters do it all the time. They have to compete all the time, film and jump down huge things to make money, so they learn from the best physical trainers in the world. Those physical trainers will first teach you that you need to learn to stretch to avoid injury while working out. If you haven’t stretched much lately, that’s okay. Start now, and take it slow. Stretch in the morning when you wake up, in the afternoon, right after you’ve warmed up skating and right after your skate sesh, then stretch again before bed. This much stretching throughout the day will loosen and limber your body, and will help blood and oxygen flow through your muscles and joints, repairing them faster. It is also a great idea to stretch your upper body as well as your neck, back and arms.
Do a warm-up: Just as a warm-up is important in skating to make sure you don’t fall when you first start skating, a warm-up is important to make sure your muscles have a moment to decompress. To warm up, do some light walking. I usually walk around the skatepark after I finish skating. This can be combined with filming your friends or taking pictures if you are a photographer. It will help get the blood to your joints for some added recovery.
Eat or drink a lot of protein after a sesh: I read a lot of blogs and forums about people looking for the best recovery methods, and this one is very much the same. You should eat or drink a lot of protein, 30-50 grams, immediately after a workout, along with coconut water or Gatorade. Your body needs the protein to rebuild the muscles, and the energy drink will replenish glycogen levels and increase insulin levels. Insulin can help repair muscle proteins by inhibiting protein breakdown and stimulating protein synthesis. Since I’m vegan, I recommend a plant-based protein shake. You can find these at your local Sprouts, Whole Foods, or online at Amazon.com. Sure, they’re not cheap, but if you really don’t want to feel that sore after a skate session, they might be worth a try. Also, eating or drinking potassium-rich substances after a workout will help replenish spent reserves. Coconut water is high in potassium, making it an excellent post-workout drink. I get mine at the local 99 cents store to save money. Make sure you get the one without added sugar. Your body also needs things like sodium and calcium to fuel muscle energy. Bananas and sweet potatoes are great sources of potassium, sodium and calcium. Add these to your post-skate session meals and you’ll be feeling better in no time. Also, grapes and cherries have antioxidants in them that help your body to reduce pain in your joints. Another tip is to take fish oil or flaxseed oil pills. The omega-3, 6 and 9 do wonders for lubricating your joints.
Get better sleep: Sleep is essential for rebuilding muscles, joints and tendons. If you party late or watch TV after skate sessions, you are not getting the benefits that sleep offers. To make the most of your Z’s, get at least 8-9 hours of sleep each night. If youare like me and have trouble falling asleep, you can try taking an herbal supplement like melatonin or valerian root (I found a supplement called “relax & sleep” at my local Dollar Tree). Drinking a hot cup of chamomile tea will also help. In addition, having a ‘technology blackout’ every night after 21:00 will help you get to bed more easily. Whatever it takes, get the sleep you need to recover and you can skate at your maximum potential every day!
Reduce stress: Acute stress, like the type you get from exercising, is good for you. Chronic stress, like when you don’t get enough sleep, or when you have a paper at school, is not good for you. To fully recover from your skate sessions in the fastest way possible, make time to do stress-relieving exercises such as short walks, hanging out with friends and cycling. These are all things known as active recovery, and can go a long way in helping you mentally recover from a hard skate session. Socializing with good friends and laughing are the best ways to relieve stress.
Ice, then take a hot bath: Icing your ankles after a skate session for 10-15 minutes, then bathing in hot water will relax your muscles and make it easier for them to recover the next day. The ice reduces swelling that can happen when you land really hard on your ankles, and the warm water eases the tension in your muscles, making it easier for blood to move through them. Combined with a post-workout stretch, ice and a hot bath can be an excellent way to recover after a skate session.
Bodyweight squats: Doing good bodyweight squats during the day and between skate sessions will strengthen the connective tissue around your joints, and in fact you will have more stability around the joints in your ankles, hips and pelvis. First, you want to learn how to do proper bodyweight squats.
I hope these tips help you have more fun with skateboarding. No doubt it can be very painful at times, but it is overcoming our personal challenges and getting the reward of rolling away from a trick that makes it all worth it. I love skateboarding, and I’m sure you do. That’s why, if it were up to me, I would skate all day every day. However, as we age, our bodies don’t recover as quickly, but if you take these 5 tips to heart, your recoveries may be faster, and you’ll be back skating in no time!
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