To be the best at what you do, it takes discipline and drive to push your body to new limits. But this doesn’t only occur once you’re climbing the face or running that 26th mile—this force should be a part of your regular workout routine.
But as committed as you may be in your mind, you’ll still need to take proper care of your body if you hope to maximize your workouts and see the results you want. This may include better overall physical fitness and physique, biking farther, climbing higher, or striving for perfection in your favorite sport. To get the most out of your workouts, make sure you’ve got the right running, biking, and climbing equipment to help you cool down and recover after a workout.
After a session at the climbing gym, you may attribute aches and pains to simply getting older. This, however, doesn’t have to be the case, and by adding foam rollers to your workout routine, you can get rid of aches and continue to strengthen and stretch out muscles. Foam rollers, such as Trigger Point’s Grid 2.0, are perfect for a core body workout that you can use to strengthen and loosen everything from your calves, quads, and hamstrings to your back, pecs, and abs.
Foam rollers were designed to give you the benefits of a therapeutic massage—which can decrease stiffness and soreness by 40 percent—with the core strengthening aspects of a workout. Because these tools focus on the most crucial muscles, they’re a great addition to just about any workout routine for any sport.
When choosing a roller, choose one built from EVA foam, which is not only a better environmental choice, but will last you the longest, no matter what you put it through.
To help prepare your body for the recovery phase of a workout, try compression sleeves and clothing that can help fight off muscle fatigue and keep soreness to a minimum even after most vigorous workouts. Calf sleeves, such as 2XU calf guards, are great assets to your bike apparel and can help you push your body to its limits.
There’s heavy science behind compression garments, but essentially, these sleeves provide another level of firmness to soft tissue without limiting mobility. When choosing a sleeve, pick one made of either Lycra or spandex, which are best for keeping swelling down. These sleeves also improve blood flow, reduce blood pooling, and help keep lactic acid from building up—the number one cause of soreness.
Wearing compression clothing is also a great way to stay dry and cool during any sport, as it’s made of moisture-wicking, lightweight fabrics.
Avoiding Chronic Injuries
Any time you put your muscles under enough stress for long periods, you run the risk of common chronic joint and muscle injuries. To avoid these—or to help alleviate the pain that comes with them—it’s best to use products like heating and cooling pads, gel support braces, and therapeutic stretching garments to stay healthy.
For runners and hikers, knee pain can be helped by compression knee support products that provide overall joint stability. The common condition known as plantar fasciitis, which causes heel pain, can be helped by the Strassburg Sock, which is worn at night to help stretch calf muscles and loosen tendons. And as always, heating and cooling pads, like the Moji One wrap, can greatly decrease muscle pain before or after a workout. All of these should also be part of your hiking equipment if you know you have an injury.
It’s great to take your body to the extreme, but be smart about it. Make sure these items are part of your gym bag, and you’re aware of how to use them to give your workout the final kick it needs.