Move the Tissue
The #1 tool you need is a foam roller. It is simply the "poor man's" massage. The recommended frequency of tissue mobilization is 2-3x/day for athletes who exercise more than 2x/week, and those who sit for long periods (that's you, desk jockeys). Exercise promotes stress on tissue and the result is a healing/regenerating response from the body. Sitting results in shortening of tissues and similar micro-trauma. These can cause soreness or buildup of toxic chemicals like Lactic acid. To maintain tissue mobility and reduce the risk of “sticky” tissue, these tools are great for improving blood flow and speeding tissue recovery.
Physio Tip: Focus on the hip flexors (TFL in particular), IT-Band, gluteal muscles, and lats if you sit for long period of time or have postural issues
Drink more water
Everybody knows this is important, but most people simply don’t consume enough throughout the day. Cells that need resources the most get them. Muscle tissue and connective tissue are low priority for the body compared to the brain and internal organs, so the muscles suffer first. To recover optimally, follow the 8x8 rule and drink 8 glasses of 8 ounces or more per day. Remember this: 3 things your body must have for weight gain or weight loss is sleep, exercise, and water.
Physio Tip: Set a timer every hour or mark your bottle with dry-erase to keep track of yourH2O intake
It is critical to development of any new habits that you have a process of accountability. My experience is that patients or clients who have a system that keeps them on track for any habit have a greater chance of success. To make sure you are doing what you say, you must start with saying what you will do. Tell someone your goals and ask them to hold you accountable for better results. Verbalizing your plans puts them into the world and makes them real.
Physio Tip: A family member, spouse, or friend who you respect is a good “accountability buddy”
This post is written by a Doctor of Physical Therapy with expertise in Physical Rehabilitation and Movement Optimization for athletes to remain competitive.
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