Many swimmers forget that even though they are in the water, their bodies are still sweating. A TON. Staying hydrated can help your muscles recover faster and will quickly aid the soreness to come. While many swimmers find it challenging to drink during practice, it is important to take the time to rehydrate when you have the time between those tough sets.
HINT: Will also help eliminate cramping
Taking a few minutes before and after each practice to stretch can be very beneficial to your body. After a hard practice, your muscles are fairly tight and stretching them back out will help you recover quickly. Dynamic stretching should be done before practice; movement that warms up the body (arm swings, leg swings, jumping jacks etc). Static stretching should be done after practice; stretching when the body is at rest.
HINT: Grab a foam roller for post workout stretching
The best way for your body to recover is to sleep. Giving your body the eight hours of sleep it deserves helps your muscles recover for the next day. Just as athletes need more calories than most people when they’re in training, they need more sleep as well. Swimmers will push their bodies very hard during workouts so they will need that additional time to recover. Not to mention, sleep also helps swimmers mentally recharge.
Fueling your body with efficient foods is important. Because food is the body’s fuel, proper nutrition will indeed lead to better performance. While fast food, sweets, and treats all sound good, they will do little to help the body recover. Great nutrition as well as a stable bodyweight will also play a role in your sleep cycles and daily energy levels. Supplying your body with the healthy complex carbs and proteins will be crucial for you recovery approaching your next practices.
HINT: Implement a big cheat day when you are on a healthy eating schedule – It’s good for you…And your sanity!
Not many swimmers enjoy cooling down. While getting out right after a hard set is tempting, staying in the water to cool down will help your muscles recover. By cooling down, it stretches out your tight muscles, gradually lowers your heart rate, and will prevent dizziness and fainting. Active recovery helps let out the lactic acid that builds up throughout practice. We all know that sick feeling after a tough workout.
HINT: Kicking will help flush that lactic acid quickly!