Getting back in the saddle: What can you do to speed up your comeback from injury?

Getting back in the saddle: What can you do to speed up your comeback from injury?

Apr 17, 2020, 7:32:14 PM Opinion

Cyclists at any level should see effective recovery as an essential part of their training. It can be easy to confuse recovery as injury prevention and not performance enhancing but giving yourself time for muscle fibers to repair after exercise is where the actual gains are made. Remember: exercise breaks down the body; rest and good nutrition is what makes it come back stronger.

Time may be a great healer but it's not always on the side of an athlete who needs to squeeze a heavy workload into a short week. This makes time management crucial and, in the professional peloton, athletes are now backed by entire teams of people (doctors, physios, nutritionists and more) who's entire focus is on getting their cyclists to new performance heights. 

Wading through different types of recovery for cyclists is a long and, at times, confusing process. Anecdotal evidence can be equally as baffling, with strategies and effectiveness differing wildly depending on personal situations, training impact and the type of cycling the athlete engages in.  

From ice baths and massages to sports drinks and supplements, options range from the medicinal to the more traditional. With so much individual difference in effectiveness, where do you even begin in formulating your own recovering strategy?

Massage guns
Massage guns weren't even on most people's radar two years ago but they've now become all the rage. And with good reason. A massage gun offers many of the benefits of a deep tissue massage with your rather expensive physio, but with the added benefit of being a one-off payment that only needs a recharge every now and again. The convenience of massage guns is undeniable - both as a post workout rub down and a pre-workout loosener. It's no surprise then that everyone from Geraint Thomas to Egan Bernal have been known to use these handy tools during training camps and races.

Cold therapy
Cold therapy or cryotherapy has been around for some time now. But in recent years it's found a place in almost every sport as a popular recovery tool and treatment for sports injuries. For high impact and contact sports, cold therapy is a fantastic aid in reducing swelling and enhancing the rate of recovery for acute injuries. Yet regular use of cold treatments is also a vital way to manage longer term, chronic problems - keeping niggles from becoming full-blown injuries.
A combination of cold and hot treatments is now advised by many physical therapists.

Recovery With CBD

Cyclists, and particularly mountain bikers, engage in a high stress sport with obvious implications when it comes to muscle soreness and potential injury. Mountain bikers frequent the type of activity that can lead to a high level of impact injuries which can require longer-term recovery. Thanks to increased awareness around the benefits of CBD products for sporting recovery, it is also one of the sports to witness high levels of adoption by mountain bikers over the past year.  

As CBD products become synonymous with mountain bikers and the sport in general, it's worth taking a look at what and how CBD can help with sporting performance and more specifically, what the impact is on mountain bikers specifically.  

What is CBD?
CBD refers to Cannabidiol, a cannabis compound that is now believed to be a plant like no other. CBD products come in different shapes and sizes but are generally consumed as CBD oil to offer significant medical benefits to users without any negative side effects. Contrary to public perception, CBD oil should not be confused with THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the psychoactive component of cannabis that gives you the feeling of being “high”. CBD-infused products will not get you high and will not affect your body in this way. 

Instead, CBD acts on your body's endocannabinoid system. This is a complex network of cannabinoid receptors and connected molecules responsible for helping regulate a huge variety of bodily functions, such as memory, sleep, immune function, temperature, and appetite. CBD oils and products stimulate activity in the endocannabinoid system in a positive way to enhance the benefits of this system on the body. The overall effect depends on the concentration of the oil and individual concerned but high concentrations of CBD oil have been known to activate the 5-HT14 serotonin receptor. This is the area responsible for producing anti-depressant effects. It also influences appetite, anxiety, sleep, pain perception, addiction mechanisms, and nausea.

Why is CBD effective for Mountain Bikers and Cyclists 
CBD oil and products help the body's endocannabinoid system perform neuron modulation duties, promoting pain relief and relaxation amongst other associate side effects. As an athlete, it is the pain relief and relaxation which is of most benefit when it comes to speeding up recovery time between training and events. 

By improving access to products which can reduce pain in relation to injuries and reduce soreness from high-impact training, athletes are able to continue performing at a higher-level unhindered by training-related muscle soreness. By reducing recovery downtime and improving access to the bike during recovery periods, CBD oil and wider CBD products are opening up mountain bikers to broader methods of recovery benefiting individuals who engage in high-impact sports. 

CBD products have been linked to supporting a whole range of different ailments that can affect an athlete's ability to perform - including, sleep, mood disorders, anti-inflammation, eczema, epilepsy and arthritis. It must be stated, however, that the scientific research supporting such benefits is still relatively new and research is still ongoing into the full effects of this plant compound. As is the case with similar products on the sports recovery market, clinical efficiency is taking precedence over scientific research as the results of literally hundreds of different CBD-related trials await analysis and publication.  

Sourcing CBD 
When sourcing CBD, it is best to look for products that are organic and all natural from suppliers with a commitment to preserving the high quality of the source plants. Smart CBD is just one of the suppliers offering an extensive range of high-quality, natural full spectrum CBD oil products that can promote wellbeing and health with a 100% organic guarantee. 

For those worried about the legalities of CBD, a quick look through the WADA banned substances list and it is easy to see that every natural and synthetic cannabinoid is prohibited with the exception of Cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD was in fact removed from the list in 2018 due to the growing body of evidence highlighting its benefits for the wider population as well as the sporting community.  

The Future for Sports Recovery?

With an expanding number of advocates in the athletic community supporting CBD and its benefits, it would appear that as a sports recovery product, CBD is here to stay. The product has a growing influence across the spectrum of high impact sports but moreover, it also has a measurable and positive influence on individuals looking to boost their holistic approach to recovery solutions.

Published by Dawn Richard

Comments (1)

Apr 21, 2020, 7:38:52 PM

Nice read

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