Hands up if you’ve been playing non-stop pickleball since the restrictions have begun to lift in certain areas of the province?! Playing singles for 2+ hours was never possible pre COVID-19 - due to the demand of courts - but it has now become my reality. So now, I am finding that my physical recovery has become similar to tournament recovery. Particularly in the last 2 weeks, Toronto has been under a heat warning, so I’ve been extremely attentive to ensure my body stays well hydrated and ready to go again the next day. Here’s what I have found to be effective for me:
- Hydration - I bring an 8 cup jug of water during play and also keep a 5 cup container of water for the drive home.
- Electrolytes - Are minerals that help manage the body’s muscle contraction, hydration, nerve signals, and more. When we sweat we lose electrolytes which physically translates to a loss of energy. Powders and tablets such as Bio-Steel and Nuun are currently in my cupboard for electrolyte restoration. Typically I’m drinking one just before or during pickleball and one afterward as well (no, I don’t officially endorse these brands, I just like them). Food that help restore balance include bananas, coconut water, spinach, kale and many more. Please keep in mind what you require is an individual basis and you should consider: activity levels, age, climate, and water consumption.
- Epsom Salts - As a person who dislikes baths I have forced myself to soak in Epsom salts which allows for replacement of magnesium sulphate; which helps relax sore and achy muscles.
- Percussion Massager - I use this daily whether or not I’ve played. I've found that it really works sore, target areas. It's compact and convenient and I often bring mine to use before and after playing.
I also asked a few pickleball friends what their routines are and here’s some of the feedback I received:
- “Take a dip in the pool, Epsom salt bath to ease the muscles and drink BCAA supplements ” ~ Anne
- “I take a quick cold shower to override aches and pains. It’s important for me to get a minimum of 8 hours sleep and active recovery like walking Finally, if I stiffen up I focus on trigger point work with a lacrosse ball, acupuncture mat and getting a chiropractic adjustment goes a long way” ~ Brian
- “A cool-down/stretching phase. Try not to immediately crash after games. Walk around a bit as your heart rate comes back down, and stretch out at the end of sessions. Your muscles are already warm from playing, making it a great time to stretch. Be sure to stretch the forearm and shoulder muscles to help prevent tennis elbow and shoulder tendonitis. The Percussion Massager really target the sore areas after a workout and help to relax and loosen the muscles. The stimulation from percussion therapy promotes blood flow and oxygen to the targeted area and can help break down adhesions and scar tissue. This can enhance recovery, range of motion, and improve overall muscle function. On top of that, it just feels really great to use, and I look forward to using my massager several times a day” ~ Ryan
- “I’m using a massage gun, getting into the hot tub and lots of sleep” ~ Jennie
Hopefully, some of these practices help you find your recovery methods and if there's something you do that hasn't been listed, be sure to leave your comments in the section below!
Have a great week.