Work Hard, Recover Hard

Whether you are a weekend warrior runner, a gym rat weight lifter, a recreational tennis player, or just someone who is trying to get themselves off the couch, you are an athlete. You don’t have to be on TV or make lots of money to be an athlete. However, just like the professionals, you need to take an active role in helping your muscles recover. We recently sat down with some local health experts, including the owners of Healthsource Chiropractic (11180 State Bridge Rd) and Massage Heights (3000 Old Alabama Rd.), as well as the tennis director at Life Time Fitness – Peachtree Corners (6350 Courtside Dr NW, Peachtree Corners) to learn more about athlete recovery solutions.

Just as each sport comes with a variety of complex movements, athletic recovery can vary for each person and sport. Charice Nash-Smith, co-owner of Healthsource Chiropractic Johns Creek, believes the key is to help your muscles repair themselves after a workout. This can include adding cardio for increased circulation, rehab on affected muscles, and light to moderate stretching. From maintaining proper hydration to an advanced regiment of maintenance-based chiropractic care and Progressive Rehab® therapy, there are many ways to help your body recover.

HealthSource Chiropractic works with athletes of all abilities, as well as non-athletes, to help them get personalized treatment for their specific issues. Whether working to prevent pain through stretching, therapeutic taping, and chiropractic care, or strengthening physical deficiencies, patients know they can depend on HealthSource Chiropractic to be proactive in injury prevention, and reactive when injuries do arise.

Vivian Chhetri, who heads the tennis department at Life Time Fitness Peachtree Corners and works with many top junior players, believes recovery can be a mental thing, too. “I don’t think a lot of parents and coaches realize that tennis is a very emotional and mentally strenuous sport. In fact, we see a lot of athletes cramp up because of stress and not because they are out of shape.” Chhetri recommends a proper cool down so athletes can get their body to rest, as well as implementing a standard stretching routine before play even starts.

One of the athlete recovery solutions that is often underused by non-professional athletes is the benefit of massage. It is not just an indulgence, says Nash-Smith, who also co-owns Massage Heights Johns Creek. She explains, “Massage therapy has been shown to drastically reduce recovery time for the professional and weekend athlete by allowing them to feel better and work harder. Recovery time is expedited because massage therapy dilates the blood vessels, allowing for increased circulation and oxygenation of fatigued muscles. Massage therapy also eliminates lactic acid and other toxins that accumulate during workouts, and it improves your overall flexibility and range of motion.”

Massage Heights in Johns Creek offers a sports massage focusing on dynamic stretching. It allows the connective tissue to work through a full range of motion. The long strokes of their post-activity massage help to flush out toxins that cause soreness in muscles and joints. The benefits of massage are cumulative though, so don’t make it a one-time thing.

Athletes of all shapes, sizes and abilities can benefit from these muscle recovery solutions. While you may never be a professional, you can be the best athlete you can be.