Recovery tips for downhill mountain biking
We all know how demanding a sport it can be. That's why we do it. The adrenaline hit from pushing your body to the limit. The satisfaction and achievement that comes with every downhill session. Whilst the feeling of pushing your body to the edge of its capabilities on your bike my drive you each time you ride, it won't help if you neglect it as soon as you finish.
It's the same for the pros and the weekend warriors out there. If you follow a proper recovery routine once you're off the bike it will ease the pain the next time you're on it.
The next time you ride, try and build these tips into your recovery.
Think about your intake
After a hard session, eating might not be the first thing on your mind, but it's vital that you replace what you've lost. Think carbs and protein. Taking supplements like amino acids when you eat is vital as this will help you recover quicker. If your muscles have been broken down during the workout, an intake of protein will aid the recovery process. If you're working out like an athlete, it pays to think like one.
You also need to think about the timing of your post exercise intake. This doesn't need to be a full meal, with handy snacks like bananas and cereal having their part to play. Most importantly is to get this down you no later than two hours after exercise - ideally this should be within half an hour.
Treat those bruises
Bumps, bruises and scrapes are a natural occurrence of this kind of activity. But that doesn't mean you should just leave them to heal on their own. A full recovery strategy takes into account everything you put your body through.
Using a product such as arnica gel will support the relief of muscular aches, pains and stiffness, bruises and swelling after injury. If you come off and take a hit, make sure you factor this into your recovery.
Don't exercise on empty
You'll recover quicker if you don't let yourself run on empty during exercise. It's therefore important to stay on top of your food and fluid intake while you exercise; not just after. You need to keep yourself properly hydrated throughout the day if you're out on your bike. If you're riding for longer than 90 minutes you'll need something as well as water to keep you going as you'll need to replenish lost carbohydrates. Take a sports drink, an energy bar, or other easy to digest foods like bananas or dates. Your workout will be better and your recovery instantly aided.
Stretching and active recovery
Once you're off the bike it's important to keep the exercise going, albeit a little gentler. Stretching is vital for your muscles' recovery, as is some easy gentle movement of the muscles. This will help promote nutrient and waste product transport through the body, which in theory helps your muscles repair and refuel faster.
The body has an amazing capacity to repair itself. But you need to give it chance to do it. You may not want to, but sometimes one of the best recovery strategies is to do nothing and get some rest.