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How To Recover After A Skateboarding Session
If you’re like me, you love to skate. A two- to three-hour session at your local park is not uncommon, and you’ll feel amazing. People skate for all kinds of reasons, but the health benefits you get from skateboarding, like feeling amazing after a workout, and the challenges and rewards available make us want to do it even more. A problem that I and many other skaters face is aches and pains after a session. This can be especially evident on the second day. Some skaters handle it differently than others. Some people just can’t handle the pain and can get up every day and skate like crazy, no matter how beat up they were the day before. For the rest of us, here are some solid tips to get the most out of your skate session without feeling beat up the next day.
Skate more often: It may seem counterintuitive at first, but skateboarding is like any physical activity. If you don’t do it for a while, your body will have a hard time getting used to the abuse. Some people live in cold and rainy climates during the winter, so they stop skating for a few months until it warms up again. Then in the spring their bodies aren’t used to all the shocks around them and they go through a period of pain before adjusting to themselves again. If you ride your skateboard more often, your body will continue to adapt to the abuse and won’t hurt as much after a session. This doesn’t mean jumping down 20 flights of stairs to go out every day because you’ll get better at it. This type of misbehavior can cause serious injury, but if you skate a little every day and work to progress through your learning curves with a positive attitude, you’ll have a better time and enjoy it more.
Stretching before and after your session: It’s easy to touch some toes and get butterflies after you start skating hard and after you stop skating. In fact, if you don’t make time for stretching, you’ll have to make time for injuries and pain later on. Pro skaters do it all the time. They always have to compete, make movies and jump to big things to earn money, so they learn from the best physical trainers in the world. Those physical trainers will first teach you that to avoid injury during exercise, you must learn to stretch. If you haven’t stretched much lately, that’s okay. Start now and take it slow. Stretch in the morning when you wake up, in the afternoon, after you’ve warmed up for skating, and after your skating, stretch again before bed. Stretching so much throughout the day will make your body loose and limp, and will help blood and oxygen flow to your muscles and joints to repair faster. It is a good idea to stretch your upper body such as your neck, back and arms.
Warm-down: Just as warming-up is important when skating so you don’t fall when you start skating, warming-down is important to ensure your muscles have some time to decompress. To warm-down, do some light walking. I usually walk around the skate park after I finish skating. This can be combined with filming your friends or taking pictures if you are a photographer. This will help get blood flowing to your joints for some extra recovery.
Eat or drink lots of protein after a meal: I read a lot of blogs and forums about people looking for the best recovery method and it’s all the same. You should eat or drink plenty of protein, 30-50 grams, with coconut water or Gatorade immediately after a workout. Your body needs protein to rebuild muscle, and an energy drink replenishes glycogen levels and increases insulin levels. Insulin can help restore muscle protein by preventing protein breakdown and stimulating protein synthesis. Since I am a vegetarian, I recommend a plant-based protein shake. You can find these at your local Sprouts, Whole Foods, or online at Amazon.com. Granted they aren’t cheap, but if you really don’t want to be sore after a skate session, they might be worth a try. Also, eating or drinking potassium-rich foods after a workout will help replenish depleted reserves. Coconut water is rich in potassium, making it an excellent post-workout drink. I get mine at the local 99 cent store to save money. Make sure you get one without added sugar. Your body also needs things like sodium and calcium to fuel muscle energy. Bananas and sweet potatoes are good sources of potassium, sodium and calcium. Add this to your post-skate session meal and you’ll be feeling better in no time. Also, grapes and cherries contain antioxidants that help your body reduce the pain in your joints. Another tip is to take fish oil or flax seed oil pills. Omega-3, 6 and 9 do wonders to lubricate your joints.
Get good sleep: Sleep is essential for rebuilding muscles, joints and tendons. If you stay up late partying or watching TV after skate sessions, you won’t reap the benefits of sleep. To get the most out of your Z, get at least 8-9 hours of sleep every night. If you’re like me and have trouble falling asleep, you might try taking an herbal supplement like melatonin or valerian root (I found a supplement called ‘Relax and Sleep’ at my local Dollar Tree). Drinking a hot cup of chamomile tea will also help. Additionally, subjecting yourself to a ‘technology-blackout’ every night after 9pm will help you sleep more easily. Whatever it takes, get the sleep you need to recover and you’ll be able to skate to your full potential every day!
Reduce stress: Chronic stress, like the one you get from exercise, is good for you. Chronic stress, such as when you don’t get enough sleep or when you have a paper due at school, is not good for you. To fully recover from your skate session as quickly as possible, take time to do stress-relieving exercises like going for short walks, hanging out with friends, and cycling. These are all things known as active-recovery and can go a long way in helping you mentally recover from a hard skate session. Socializing with good friends and laughing are the best ways to reduce stress.
Ice, then take a hot shower: Ice your ankles for 10-15 minutes after a skate session, followed by a hot shower to relax your muscles and make it easier for them to recover the next day. Icing reduces the swelling that can occur if you land really hard on your ankles, and hot water eases the tension in your muscles, making it easier for blood to flow. Combined with workout stretches, icing, and hot baths can be an excellent way to recover after a skate session.
Bodyweight Squats: Performing proper bodyweight squats during the day and during skate sessions will strengthen the connective tissue around your joints and result in more stability around your ankle, hip and pelvic joints. First you need to learn how to do proper body weight squats.
I hope these tips help you have more fun with skateboarding. No doubt it can be very painful at times, but it’s overcoming your personal challenges and reaping the rewards of walking away from a trick that makes it all worth it. I love skateboarding and I’m sure you do too. So if it was up to me, I would skate all day every day. However, your body doesn’t heal as quickly as you age, but if you keep these 5 tips in mind, your recovery may be faster and you’ll be out skating again in no time!
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