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Dark energy and the recovery period
It was once thought that the dark space of the universe was lifeless, however it is now known that it is actually full of energy potential, referred to as “dark energy.”
As an athlete in training, look at your time in between training sessions as the same “dark energy”—a time when much can be happening to best prepare the body for performance in the next training session. In periodised programs, this time frame is referred to as the recovery period.
During competition, the time in between events is understood to be invaluable in readying oneself as best as possible. The time between training sessions, however, is not treated with nearly the same respect and for obvious reasons.
Many athletes here must also have jobs which would tend to compromise a person’s ability to ideally prepare their body for the next training session. From the fete match to the elite, this is the plight of many of our elite athletes, unfortunately.
In recent years in T&T, the passion for outdoor sporting and exercise activity has increased tremendously. The group setting seems to feed into a passion to continue and compete within the sport of choice, from runners to adventure racers. Against the odds, more and more adults are managing their time to cater for high intensity training. What is happening, therefore, is there is a large population of working professionals who spend a significant amount of their time in seated positions at office jobs training with the intensity of an elite athlete and this can be potentially harmful.
While prevention is always better than cure, the current reality is that people do not invest in the prevention of their injuries. Stretching after a hard training session. Foam rolling your body to reduce muscle soreness. Drinking good drinking water (the US Environmental Protection Agency recommends a pH of between 6.5 and 8.5 for drinking water) and eating healthy to properly nourish the body are all not given the sort of respect it should be given on a consistent enough basis.
Trinbagonians love to socialize and while I won’t speak for Tobagonians as I do not live in Tobago, there are many Trinis who see sport and alcohol as operating hand-in-hand, whether they are the participant or not and yes, this can be seen from the fete level to the amateur and national level of athlete participation.
For the elite athlete, recovery time is important so that every training session becomes a session to make the body stronger, faster and better than before. For the working professional who enjoys training in sport, recovery time should be seen as a tool for preventing injuries.
These reasons are linked but emphasis placed differently while aiming for the same final outcome i.e. to perform competitively. The difference between the groups is that one is being groomed to perform at the professional level and at some point will be committed to this goal on a full-time basis, whereas the working professional participates for personal satisfaction with more opportunities to compromise the ideals of their training requirements.
When people think about sports medicine, they often jump straight to traumatic injury, surgery, pain, braces, long periods of rehabilitation with no training. However, sports medicine techniques in the realm of preventing injury is expanding.
With techniques of fascial stretching, dry needling, naturopathic medicine, rehydration and nourishment tactics, breathing training…. Every professional in the sports medicine field will have something to offer to help with the recovery period. The best part about this, just like everything else about “prevention before cure,” it is significantly more cost effective.
Getting soft tissue work once a month to assist with keeping muscles supple is a lot more cost effective than neglecting the body, compromising circulation, facilitating muscle shortening/tightening, leading to muscle imbalances. Dry needling to deal with little tweaks in the muscle, contusions and such can be employed to potentially facilitate quicker recoveries from the battle scars of sport.
What many of us do not see when we witness athletic excellence is the dedication needed in between training sessions to facilitate progression. If you or your child participates in sporting activity and exercise regularly, get educated on how you can help yourself in between sessions and live happier, healthier lives in sport.
Asha De Freitas-Moseley M.S. A.T.C., A.R.T., C.E.S., F.S.T. has been an athletic trainer/therapist with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) for the past 12 years. She specializes in the rehabilitation of injuries experienced in the lives of active and/or athletic populations. If you would like a consultation or have an injury, she can be reached at Pulse Performance Ltd., located at #17 Henry Pierre St., St. James. Tel: 221-2437.
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