BY CHUKKA WELLNESS
Regardless of what discipline you are in, it is essential to maximize recovery in-between competitions and events to regain mental focus and revive the body. Many equestrians forget that to enhance the recovery process, it is essential to fuel the body properly with the correct nutrients to maintain suppleness in the joints through body recovery strategies.
In such a competitive industry, it is all about the marginal gains. Being mentally and physically prepared gives you that extra competitive edge over your competitors.
Problems from incorrect rider recovery include:
- Mental and physical fatigue
- Tight muscles and joints
- Injuries not addressed, leading to further biomechanical imbalances
- Low energy levels from poor nutrition
- Weak mental reflection and preparation, which can lead to mental unsettlement and bad sleep
Benefits to effective rider recovery include:
- Mental clarity and focus
- Visualization of goals and the process required to achieve them (proven to be highly effective)
- Supple joints from stretching
- High energy levels from rest and good nutrition
- Muscles that are rested, engaged and strong which lowers risk of injury plus adds stability in the saddle
- Better optimal athletic performance!
So what does an effective rider recovery routine look like? Working with many equestrians, including the number one female polo player in the world Nina Clarkin, has allowed us an insight into the physical strains the equestrian sport has on the body. Nina plays high goal tournaments all year round so requires a fast and effective recovery regime.
Here is the recovery regime we recommend to equestrian athletes to optimize mind and body revival.
Many riders don’t realize that performing an effective warm up routine is just as important as your horse’s. It can reduce recovery time after their competition or event. Research has shown that warming up before a game increases competitiveness, focus and clarity. So use this time for some last minute refocusing, relaxing and reenergizing.
An effective warm up should include:
- A Mobility Routine
- Activation Exercises
- Mental Activation Drills; agility, reaction time, decision making
- Some Deep Breathing
Ice Baths or Contrast Showers
Yes, we said it – ice bath! If riders are reluctant to jump in a freezing cold bath, then we recommend contrast showers. This is when you alternate the temperature of the shower from hot to cold every minute. It helps to improve blood circulation the muscles and aid in recovery.
Show seasons can be very hectic, and the worst-case scenario is rider burnout. If this happens mid-season, rider performance can decline. Be sure to take time out to recharge, repair and replenish.
Why not start with some of these:
- Get your sleep – Add a Magnesium supplement if you struggle with sleep
- Try adding in Turmeric to your diet to reduce muscle inflammation.
- Stretch! On your morning or days off, complete a 15 minute stretching routine
- Reflection helps to mentally recharge. Run through the positives and negatives of your last performance; what needs changing in your preparation regime? How did your body feel? Did you have enough energy?
Drink and Eat
- Consume nutrient dense foods before and after each event such as lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, low GI carbohydrates such as sweet potato and brown rice.
- Sip on water throughout the days leading up to the event, during the event and of course after.
- If you struggle with low energy levels mid event, try our isotonic drink—a pinch of Himalayan salt, 1:1 ratio of fresh orange juice and filtered water. Sip on this during the day and after the event to replenish any stores lost through sweat.
If you would like to improve your rider preparation and recovery regime, our ‘Become a More Supple Rider’ resource has 5 days of mobility routines. The exercises have been designed to reduce risk of injury and improve overall suppleness of the equestrian athlete.
Chukka Wellness provides the leading training and movement methodology designed for the equestrian athlete to enhance suppleness, stability and strength in the saddle. We provide online and offline services created to elevate the wellbeing of equestrians both in and out of the saddle with our tried and tested key ingredients. Check us out on Instagram @chukka_wellness our website at www.chukkawellness.co.uk or on Facebook with Chukka Wellness.