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In an interview with MTN Town Magazine's Sydney Fox, Dr. Erik Dorf talked about injury and rehabilitation. Here is an excerpt of the interview where he discusses recovery:
I like to think about doing everything you can to be better and stronger at the end of the week, month or season, rather than being stronger tomorrow. If you think you are going to go out and hammer and be better tomorrow, you’re wrong. You won’t be stronger from that ride until at least two days later, with a rest day in between. In your 50’s and 60’s you would be better off riding every other day for a week than riding hard for 4 days and then taking 3 days off. I always suggest always keeping a bigger picture in mind. Sprinting at the end of a ride without a 15-20 minute cool down is not going to do anything except bathe your muscles in lactic acid.
If ultimate performance isn’t your goal, post-workout food doesn’t really matter. If it is, giving yourself all of the nutrients to replenish glycogen and protein stores soon after the workout is incredibly important. With that, don’t forget about fluid replenishment.
I like to do a little self-massage at the end of a ride. Massage stimulates blood flow, which is helpful for clearing metabolic stuff. Additionally, foam rollers break up knots and soreness really well.
I’m also a fan of compression. It decreases the venous volume, which means you’re getting better blood return to the heart, and especially in legs, that return is really important. Recovery is very much driven by the muscle’s ability to contract and return blood. The muscles contract the veins and push the blood back to the heart. Compression decreases the amount of blood that’s hanging out in the veins.