When it comes to becoming a better triathlete, it's often the things that we do outside of training that can have a significant impact. Recovery, rest, and rehabilitation should be at the core of any athlete's training regime.
Beyond just stretching and eating right, below we share five highly-effective recovery tips to help you become a better triathlete.
In order to understand what self-myofascial release (or "SMR")is all about, it is paramount that we understand two aspects that are integral to SMR effectiveness. The first term is fascia; which is a specialized connective tissue that surrounds the whole body, that is, the bones, joints and muscles, as well as providing protection and support.
When there is damage to the fascia, this gives rise to trigger points. Trigger points are the second aspect to consider and are defined as areas of muscle that are susceptible to pain when undergoing palpation, they also exhibit tout bands around these areas.
Self myofascial release is a very simple technique that athletes employ in order to alleviate these trigger points. The exercise involves a foam roll, on which the athletes roll parts of their body until they reach the trigger point. The athletes then hold this position until the pain subsides.
It is common knowledge in the athletic world, that what you consume after a work out or race greatly determines how your body is going to react in the subsequent day or days. It is therefore imperative that we carefully consider what we drink or eat after such tiresome sessions.
Triathletes should know when to drink water and when to drink electrolyte rich energy drinks. These decisions are predominantly determined, by the rate of absorption of these fluids by the body. In order to make the right decision, one should consult a nutrition expert before consuming anything.
Stretching is a very integral part in the training regimen of any professional triathlete. Triathletes who have more elasticity and flexibility in their muscles perform better. There are two types of stretching recommended by the professionals.
The first one is, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) which is a set of stretching techniques which are used to improve both the passive and active range of motions in our bodies. This done to ensure that that our body produces optimum performance as well as rehabilitate the body when injured. The second technique is of static stretching which generally means stretching while the body is in a stationery position.
After that vigorous work out, a lot of triathletes prefer to immerse themselves in an ice water bath. This ice water bath has temperatures between twelve to fifteen degrees Celsius. This plunge into the ice bath is believed to have a therapeutic effect on the muscles as it reduces the soreness and pain in the muscles.
Doing this after training can help the muscles recover quickly from the strains of the exercises and as such are quickly ready for the next session. This cold exposure also provides a resurgence of energy.
Meditation can be a very useful tool for an athlete who is training for a tournament or who is recovering from an injury or strenuous exercises. Meditation causes the body to relax and such reduce the release of the hormone cortisol, which is a very bad hormone for and budding athlete. Athletes who meditate have been known to perform better, as they generally have all their faculties in control.
Lastly, spend some time working on your form and biomechanics in all three disciplines of triathlon. There are many sports scientists out and triathlon coaches out there who can help you refine your form and help you become more efficient and injury free.
Explore the idea of investing in quality triahlon coaching so you can become better organized with your training, and your self as a whole through the sport.
Contrary to popular belief, mindful meditation is significantly more popular than many people may currently assume. Statistics that were gathered by the National Institute of Health, demonstrates that roughly 8% of people who live within the US or 18 million people have meditated at some point or another.
When you look at the fact that studies suggest that meditation can provide a wide range of benefits such as, enhanced memory retention rate and stress reduction, it comes as no surprise. Let's take a looked at some promising science supported data that highlights the ways in which meditation changes the brain.
While it may be true that an insurmountable amount of academic research have proven that mindful mediation has a profound effect on our emotional well-being, scientists have not been able to figure out precisely, what actually goes on, whenever people meditate and the effects it has on the brain. However, a Harvard neuroscientist by the name of Sara Lazar, has been categorized as being one of the leading researchers within this field. She is also the first individual to demonstrate that mediation leads to a variety of structural changes within the brain.
In 2005, her team was the first to demonstrate that long term meditation, facilitates cortical thicken within the areas of the brain that are associated with: interoception "awareness of the body's physiological state, sensory processing and attention as well."
In 2011, during a study that her team conducted which consisted of a variety of individuals who had no prior experience with mindful mediation, her team found that, after an 8 week period of practicing meditation, there was an increase in gray matter concentration within the portions of the brain, that were associated with: emotion regulation, perspective talking, self-referential processing and memory and learning processes as well.
What her research suggests is that, the reason why meditation practitioners feel a higher sense of euphoria and tranquility, isn't based on the fact that they are taking the time to relax, during their mediation routine, the reason for their higher state of tranquility is due to the fact that a variety of changes in their brain structure occur, that facilitate the improvements of their lives that many meditation practitioners have always proclaimed.
Lazar proclaims that it's these changes in brain structure, that leads to changes in mental activity. To put things in retrospect, let's take a look at two prime examples of how changes in brain structure can lead to big changes in mental activity.
As mentioned before, in 2011 her team found that mediation lead to increased gray matter concentration in the areas of the brain that's responsible for emotion regulation. Said in simple terms, this change in brain structure will leave the individual more capable of regulating their emotions. Therefore, whenever a negative emotion manifest itself, the individual will be more capable of accepting and allowing that emotion to fade away as opposed to acting upon said emotion via impulsive behavior, self medication or stressful thoughts for example.
As mentioned before, her team demonstrated back in 2005 that, long term mediation facilities cortical thickening in brain areas, that are associated with interception or awareness of the body's physiological state. This in essence means that mediation helps you to become more aware of the subtle emotions you may be experiencing as well as the subtle emotions of others.continue...
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