The correct habit of normalizing the state of the muscles and of relaxing, after doing sports, are the keys to avoiding possible injuries. In fact, any muscle group needs additional rest to recover and recover its full potential. Relaxation methods such as stretching and deep breathing play a fundamental role in allowing, and promoting, recovery.
But how can muscle normalization be improved? What are the relaxation methods that really work? Do they go well for any sport or only for certain disciplines? In this article, we will deepen the topic, trying to answer these and also other questions. But first of all, let’s try to understand better what happens with physical exhaustion.
The progressive decrease in physical activity
When you stop doing sports and feel tired, you usually choose to immediately stop the exercise, the race or the game. This is a very common mistake, which can cause the incidence of muscle problems even very serious. Even if you suffered a minor injury during training, this could make things worse.
Especially at the amateur level, these wrong behaviors are very common. On the contrary, most professional athletes are aware of the importance of gradually decreasing physical activity. Sometimes, the same physical exhaustion allows for a “transition” between more demanding and much less intense movements. To give you an example, you can easily observe how the sprinters do not stop running, suddenly, past the finish line: they continue for several meters until they cancel the intensity of the race.
In the case of soccer players, the distance between the court and the bench allows them to make an appropriate transition. From running at full speed, they pass to a light trot and, finally, they walk before sitting down. Subsequently, they will perform a complete stretching phase.
Stretching: one of the integral relaxation methods
Just as it is essential to stretch before the exercise, it is equally important to do it after a particularly challenging race or race. Stretching after training has the important function of facilitating the flow of blood to the muscles.
Furthermore, stretching is the best way to preserve the flexibility of various muscle groups. As we age, this problem becomes very important, because the muscles reduce their consistency.
Let’s see some exercises that should never be missed in the post-race or post-training phase:
- Basic extension of arms and legs: an excellent way to do this, without exaggerating, is to stand and extend your legs and arms. The arms rise upwards, like when you stretch in the bed, as soon as you wake up.
- Extension of the legs on the floor: to perform this exercise you will have to sit and stretch your legs as much as possible. Then, gently push the trunk forward, arms inward, touching the ground. This procedure is highly recommended for stretching the abductor’s muscles.
- Contraction and extension of the arms: after exercising, sit on a chair and work on each muscle. Basically, the idea is to slowly contract and gradually extend arms, legs, and trunk.
Breathing exercise after sports activity
The physiological apparatus that remains in operation, even during rest, is obviously the respiratory one. At this stage, however, it is right that you concentrate not only on breathing but also on total body oxygenation. This process implies that you pay attention to your way of breathing, while the intensity gradually goes down.
It is your own body that needs this method of relaxation. After sport, it is essential to continue with deep and diaphragmatic breathing. This should be done in parallel with the progressive reduction of the level of physical activity.
You will also need to check the way you breathe out. It is absolutely normal and necessary to control some automatic gestures during this slowdown phase. Breathing deeply and slowly will greatly relieve fatigue and oxygenate the body. Also with regard to the reintegration of liquids, we suggest you drink the water in small and slow sips.
Mental relaxation methods, fundamental
The practice of sport requires, above all, the use of mental skills. After all, your efforts must be directed towards a specific task, following a certain technique and respecting the rules.
Therefore, it is usually normal to notice some mental exhaustion, stress, and tension in the head area when the training or competition To manage these moments, there are these two exercises that will surely come in handy:
- Count: the idea is to count slowly from 50 to 0. It may also be normal to start thinking about things that have nothing to do with sport. This will allow you to return to a state of stillness or normality.
- Empty the mind: the important thing here is to leave the mind empty. To be able to do this, you will have to stop and relax after stretching. Try to “feel” both body and mind relaxation. Obviously it will be more difficult to lighten your thoughts, especially if you have been fully involved in the game.
As you have seen, immediately after doing sports it is essential to prepare the tired body for rest. Both in muscular, psychological and certainly respiratory. The important thing is to gradually reduce every single activity, without drastic interruptions.
In addition to the relaxation methods we have listed above, it is fair to remember that, in some sports, another is also used. This fourth method is that of physiotherapy. Massages are essential to help improve the muscular condition after the competition and to promote the complete relaxation of the athletes.