The New Rules Of Recovery

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Foam rolling helps agility

Sure, you can tough out some DOMS – but new research suggests that a few minutes on the roller might also improve your first touch. Professional footballers who went through a 20-minute session of rolling their quads, glutes, adductors and hams reported reduced muscle soreness, but also recovered more of their pre-workout agility. No time at the gym? A post-game warm-down in front of the TV is the next best thing.

Naps are better than coffee

When you’re cranking through work it can be tempting to reach for the triple-strength Guatemalan blend, but a blanket’s probably a better bet. In a recent study from the University of California, napping for 60 to 90 minutes improved performance in learning, motor skill and memory considerably more than caffeine. That’s a long time, but another study – published in the journal Neuroscience – suggests that a ten- to 30-minute power nap can mimic the effects in less time.

Use saunas to cool off

They’re not just good for working up a sweat – new findings from the European Journal Of Epidemiology And Human Hypertension suggest that saunas can both reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure, speeding recovery via previously unexplored pathways. Test subjects’ heart rates increased slightly in the heat, suggesting that a quick blast might act in a similar manner to a brief recovery workout… with less effort.