Best Post Ride Relaxation Tips
After a long and sweaty cycle ride, there’s no better feeling than relaxing. Conquering all those hills merits a reward, and taking care of your body is critical for feeling the benefits, not the potentially painful after-effects, of cycling. There are a few quick and easy ways to nourish the body and enjoy some relaxation before hitting the pedals again.
Staying hydrated is vital for any athlete to both recover as well as perform at an optimal level. While water certainly hydrates, the often intense sweating that occurs during strenuous exercise causes the body to lose electrolytes, which give it energy. Low sugar sports drinks can be a good way to replenish these electrolytes after a long ride, but research has shown that supplements or powders may be more beneficial. Regardless of which you choose they will leave you feeling calm and sound instead of achy and exhausted. Some cyclists swear by drinking cherry juice. It’s highly potent with antioxidants and thus works as an anti-inflammatory in the body, reducing any tightness and soreness in the muscles accrued from the increased production of free radicals during exercise.
Utilize Heat and Cold
Use heat to target specific muscles or muscle groups that have taken on most of the stress. This includes the legs and glutes, the entire core, or even sometimes the upper back, shoulders, and neck. Heat can be applied using an ointment, heating pad, or by having a soak in the tub. Utilizing heat will reduce inflammation in the worn out areas while simultaneously increasing circulation. For best results, alternate between hot and cold therapy, using an ice pack or ice bath.
Many top riders swear by wearing compression garments during and after a long ride, particularly on the legs. The tightness of the clothing can have an almost massage-like effect on tightening muscles.
After a hard ride, the body needs to recover. Be sure to not be overly keen to train hard again. Take time to stretch out any kinks and elevate the legs for a bit. Allow the body to rest before going for an easy recovery ride the next day.
Getting a solid night’s rest is crucial for letting the body fully rest and recover. In order to get proper sleep, cyclists must take all facets of health into account, from nutrition and hydration to stretching and icing/heating. Never do strenuous exercise less than two hours before trying to sleep, as the endorphins and adrenaline will still be pumping through your body, making it difficult to settle down and sleep.
If you love to ride, make sure to take the time to rest and relax. Don’t mess up your next ride by making mistakes after your last.