All Martial Arts put a lot of strain on the athlete’s body.
In recent years as sports like Muay Thai an MMA have expanded and increased in popularity internationally so has the recognition that an athlete’s recovery following competition is as important as the training leading up to it.
Recovery strategies have also developed over the years and of course adopting an effective is essential to the athletes performance, reduce layoff period between competition and increase career longevity.
Here we take a look at some of the different recovery techniques methods and strategies available.
Nutrition & Hydration
Of course the less stressed the fighters are in terms of nourishment going into competition the easy recovery will be. Huge weight cuts, although not the focus of this post, can hugely stress the body and greatly increase the chances of serious, and in some tragic cases lethal, injuries from impacts inflicted on the body in a dehydrated state.
The first course of recovery following competition is unsurprisingly therefore ingesting suitable carbohydrates and proteins to begin the process of energy restoration & facilitate tissue repair.
Nothing more needs to be said about rehydrating other than it is essential along with replenishing electrolytes lost.
Active-Passive Recovery (Cool Down & Stretching)
Highly intensive activity causes lactic acid build-up and other waste products to build up in the tissues. Slowly cooling down greatly helps the body flush these toxins from the tissue. This is as easy as some light shadow boxing and stretching off. This will clear the body of these unwanted by products as the body’s core temperature gentle reduces.
There is a recent trend with MMA to include crypto-therapy in their training programs. The idea behind this booths that operate well below freezing is that the athlete stands in for a short length of time and exposes their body to sub-zero temperature. In much the same way as applying ice to an injury; blood flow is reduced which limits the inflammatory response and reduce swelling as a result. Ice should always be applied to any injury following a bout and applied regularly over the next 48 hours.
Ice water immersion & contrast therapy
The inflammatory response may also be reduced by immersion in cold or ice water baths which rapidly reduce core and muscle temperature. Oxygen demand is also reduced as the lower temperatures restrict blood vessels and to and limit blood flow.
This therapy should be adopted soon as possible after a bout and be repeated regularly over the next 24-28 hours.
The athlete can then alternate between the ice bath and hot water contrast bath or showers to cause the body to increase blood circulation intermittently which will flush waste products and enhance tissue nourishment and repair.
Applying pressure to a wound or injury will reduce bleeding, internal and external. Compression an injure muscle or joint can help reduce inflammation. Simply applying a bandage can assist with this, however these days there are a huge range of compression garments available. Following a competition in sport like Muay Thai or MMA full length compression pants and shirt are recommended to assist with the inflammation associate with the blow likely recived during the bout. It is recommended these are worn for the next 24 – 48 hours.
Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Pharmaceutical drugs like Ibuprofen can help reduce pain but also have anti-inflammatory properties. These will help the recovery process an may help the athlete return to training in less discomfort.
Soft tissue massage
Readily available an very popular before and after competition in Thailand Soft tissue massage aids the athlete in much the same way as stretching and cooling down after the fight. Massage helps keep the body flexible, flush waste products from the muscle tissues, help Ren nourish muscles and will help reduce the threat of blood clots
Of course the best course of recovery for any athlete following any competition or strenuous exercise or training is rest. The body clears toxins, nourishes and rebuilds muscle tissues and repairs the injured body when resting.
Perhaps taking it one step further; a serious athlete may seek relaxation and revitalisation at a health and wellness retreat. With Some of the most beautiful and exotic locations around the globe. South East Asia offer some of the best facilities such as any of the luxury Health retreats Bali, Indonesia and Koh Samui, Thailand being favourite destinations. Away from the gym and the busy ‘real world’ there are some incredible retreats in some of the worlds most exotic and beautiful locations that provide everything an athlete needs in the days following competition; nutrition, rest, relaxation are all taken care of to ensure the athlete swiftly recovers, refreshed and revitalised.