7 essential recovery tips for athletes

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This article is sponsored by DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan.

The hottest topic in sports medicine these days is recovery.

"Recovery is the key to optimizing your performance and preventing injury," said Laura Ramus, physical therapist and athletic trainer at DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan.

The first thing you must understand is that rest alone is not recovery. Ramus recommends incorporating the following steps after a workout or competition.


Adequate sleep aids in mental well-being, hormonal balance and muscle recovery. Between eight and 10 hours of sleep is recommended for most athletes.


A general rule is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day. As you train and compete, this amount will increase. Drink 16 ounces of water or electrolyte beverages for every pound lost during exercise.


Every athlete knows they need carbs, but protein is just as crucial to muscle recovery. You should consume at least 20 grams of protein within 20 minutes of completing your workout or competition. Eating foods rich in vitamin D can also aid in correctly fueling your muscles for performance and recovery.


Research studies continue to support the use of ice baths for 15 minutes at temperatures between 46 degrees and 59 degrees post-workout or competition. If you don't have access to an ice bath, the next best thing is to apply ice bags to major muscle groups of the legs.


The use of compression garments after a workout or competition has been shown to reduce swelling, improve circulation and reduce muscle soreness in your arms, feet and legs.

Soft tissue release

Tight muscles and trigger points sometimes need assistance to return to healthy normal tissue. Foam rolling, stretching, manual massage and cupping are just some of the soft tissue techniques that should be performed following your training or competition to maximize your recovery.

A balanced combination of rest and recovery, along with proper diet and exercise, should be a part of any training program.

When you have an injury or want to improve your performance, seek the DMC Sports Medicine team. Their experienced team of operative and non-operative orthopedic physicians, physical therapists and athletic trainers can customize a treatment or performance plan that gets you back in the game or back to your active lifestyle as quickly as possible.

Call the Sports Injury Hotline at 313-910-9328 or click here for an immediate appointment.