Hockey is an intense fast paced game that can leave you exhausted, tired and make your muscles feel soar the next day. Most players spend 3-5 days per week on the ice so knowing how to recover faster is very important if you want to avoid running out of energy or getting ill from exhaustion.
By applying a few tips, you can recover your muscles a lot quicker and more efficiently. Here is a list of things you can do to help give your body what it needs to recover faster from strenuous hockey workouts.
Drink lots of water or sports drinks during practices or games
Not getting enough fluids in your body during games or practices will accelerate your overall fatigue and heat stress. As your body temperature increases, performance decreases, fatigue increases and you can become ill. Insufficient hydration can lead to these much faster. The best way to stay hydrated and fueled for hockey workouts is to drink water or sports drinks during workouts (we recommend a high quality sports drink as it also contains carbohydrates, proteins and electrolytes, which will give you more energy than simply consuming water). You should consume 4 to 8 ounces of water or sports drinks every 10-15 minutes. (Avoid sports drink with too much sugar).
Assure to give you body the rest it needs
Nutrition and proper hydration alone are not enough to assure your body to fully recover from strenuous hockey workouts. Rest and sleep are also very important. To assure your body has the necessary rest it needs, you should aim at having at least 8-10 hours of quality sleep every night (especially the night before your hockey games or practices). If your body doesn’t get the sleep it needs, your body will become tired a lot quicker and your performance will suffer from it. You should also try to go to bed no later than 10 O’Clock, as the best sleep quality occurs between 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. Also, try to have a few days a week with very little or no exercise to give your body rest to recover faster.
Work on your endurance and stamina
If you lack endurance and stamina, your body will use a lot more energy and become exhausted a lot quicker. For this reason, it is very important that one of your main goals as a player be to become fit and in shape. There are a few ways to do this; 1- Work on conditioning during practices. 2- Undertake cardio-vascular exercises away from the ice (in-line skating, jogging, and biking). Remember however not to over do any exercise you undertake as too much exercise will deplete your body more than it will do you good.
Treat injuries and take time off from hockey if needed
Hockey is a fast paced game with fast intense movements and with contact involved, many injuries can occur. The most typical injuries suffered from hockey players are muscle strains, back ligament sprains, groin strains, hip injuries, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, wrist injuries, hand and finger injuries, head and neck injuries, concussions, contusions and dental injuries. If you suffer from one of those types of injuries, consult a medical professional and follow his recommendations to treat and heal your injury. Many players don’t take the necessary time off to let the injury heal and they end up aggravating the injury. Give your body the time, rest and nutrition it needs to heal.
Here is a simple guideline to follow if you suffer a bruise or strain during a game.
Rest (For most injuries, rest the area until the pain decreases.
For simple sore muscles, however, gentle stretching will reduce stiffness more quickly. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds, then rest and repeat five to 10 times) – Ice (Ice is the most effective treatment for reducing inflammation, pain and swelling of injured muscles, joints and connective tissues—such as tendons, ligaments, and bruises. Apply ice for 20 minutes every two to three hours while awake. For best results, place crushed ice in a plastic bag and wrap with a moist towel) - Compression (Between icings, wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage to help control swelling and provide support. Don’t wrap to tightly!) - Elevation (Raising the injured area above your heart will allow gravity to help reduce swelling by draining excess fluid).