5 Recovery Tips For Mountain Bikers
Hey, cyclists & bikers. We know you love the thrill of going fast, the burn of taking on a hill climb, and the adrenaline rush that comes from bombing down a gnarly mountain trail.
And you don't have to be a "pro" to reap the benefits of cycling. For you non-racers and weekend warriors, even going on a quick trail ride or even a short roadside cruise by yourself can get the endorphins pumping enough to carry you through a busy week with verve and vigor.
Now let's talk about recovery.
Are you ignoring the immediate recovery process? Well, you shouldn't be, especially if you are a competitive cyclist. If you've just completed a race, training section, or even just a long afternoon ride, you want to pay close attention to your immediate recovery. Taking necessary steps to recover from your ride has the following benefits:
Increasing long-term performance
Protecting overall long-term health
The bottom line: practicing proper recovery sets you up for long term success. Here are some tips from Dr. Elton to help you recover from your ride:
1. Take a "Cool-Down" Period
Don't go all-out for a long period of time and expect to come to a full stop immediately. Remember to take a quick cool-down period as you are nearing the end of your ride. Especially if you have just finished an intense race or sprint.
Taking this "simmer down" period will allow your blood vessels to adjust to change of pace slowly as they come back to equilibrium. The blood that has pooled in your legs will get a chance to re-distribute throughout the body.
As the first part of your recovery routine, it's important to set the tone by taking this step. You'll feel the positive effects immediately.
2. Cool-Down Again When You Step Off The Bike
Once you get off the bike, take the cool-down period a step further by remembering to take a little walk at the end of the race or ride.
You might think you want to plop right down on the ground after such a grueling ride, but fight that impulse and keep your body moving to give your muscles and blood flow extra time to normalize with this final cool-down portion.
As your muscles continue to relax, your body will thank you.
3. Get Some Protein
The virtues of eating a high-protein meal before a race or ride are well-documented. But did you know that it's almost as important to have a high-protein meal directly after your ride?
There are many ways to do this. Protein bars, shakes, or a meal consisting of high-protein items such as chicken or eggs.
The bottom line is that your body needs nutrition to successfully recover from a long training session or race. So as soon as you feel ready, give your body the protein it needs to recharge.
4. Drink Water
A lack of proper hydration can hinder recovery. The body needs to replenish fully after a training or racing, and water is THE key element.
While electrolyte-heavy drinks and shakes are acceptable, the number one choice is good old fashioned water. So empty your drinking bottles if you haven't already, and remember to keep hydrating throughout the rest of the day.
Also, if plan to drink alcohol after cycling or biking, remember to supplement that intake with an increased amount of water. For every glass of wine or beer that you drink, add an extra glass of water on top of the "extra" that you are already drinking on account of your recent ride.
5. get proper rest
Even though numerous studies have proven the invaluable effects of rest, it's still an underrated factor for athletes. So if you haven't heard how important it is to get a good night's sleep for athletes, let us be the first to inform you!
As you slumber, your muscles will repair themselves as your sleeping hormones kick in. Having a great ride and then getting a good satisfied night of sleep is a great way to create a healthy balance that will keep you enjoying cycling and riding for a long time.
So put away the remote control early the night after a big ride and settle in early for a healthy, rejuvenating night's sleep.
Dr. Elton's recommendation for healthy feet while cycling
Dr. Elton receives a lot of questions from cyclists who are having foot pain. Here's his answer:
"Foot pain or numbness is often the result of wearing soft-soled shoes. Special shoes designed for cycling have stiff soles that distribute pressure evenly over the pedal.
This also helps you pedal more efficiently. Foot pain can also be caused by using too high a gear, which results in more pressure where the foot meets the pedal.
So pay attention to your footwear! If you are doing serious cycling and start to have foot pain, invest in some high-performance, well-fitting shoes."
There you go! Have fun, enjoy your time cycling, and don't forget to take the proper steps to rest and recover so you can do it all over again!
- Team Elton