Playing in the NBA is no easy feat. The league's grueling 72-game season, combined with a hectic travel schedule, back-to-back games, and altered sleep schedules, puts an enormous strain on players' bodies and minds. With minutes played averaging between 28 to 37 minutes per game, players endure immense physical stress throughout the season, which is only exacerbated by the playoffs. Although rest and recovery are critical to staying healthy during the season, many players are unsure whether they're doing enough to help their bodies recover.
Fortunately, there are several tried-and-true techniques that NBA players can use to support their recovery needs. In this article, we'll explore three of the most effective methods: massage/foam rolling, cryotherapy/ice baths, and compression.
Massage and foam rolling are fantastic ways to rejuvenate the body after a strenuous workout or game. Soft tissue massage can improve circulation, reduce pain and discomfort, and promote a calming effect. Many studies have confirmed the healing benefits of massage, and regular massages can work wonders for sore and overworked muscles. If regular massages aren't feasible, players can opt for a self-foam-rolling routine to achieve similar results. Consistency is key, as the initial tightness and tone in muscles can make the first few sessions uncomfortable.
Cryotherapy and ice baths are another tried-and-true method for recovery. Ice baths have long been a staple in sports recovery, as they help decrease soreness and speed up overall recovery. After a heavy workout, there is considerable vasodilation to blood vessels and micro-trauma to muscles. While inflammation helps the muscle or damage area heal, too much inflammation can increase pain and soreness. Immersing in a cold bath causes vasoconstriction of blood vessels, reducing muscle damage and swelling. As the body warms up, fresh, oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood rushes to the muscle, further supporting the recovery process. For players with time constraints, whole-body cryotherapy chambers are a fantastic alternative that can reach temperatures as low as minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit and require only three minutes or less of application. Regardless of the method, players should be careful not to overdo it and damage their skin with over-icing. While some studies have shown minimal physical effects from ice or cold therapy for decreasing inflammation, the mental benefits of feeling better after an ice bath cannot be underestimated. Cold immersion therapy has been shown to provide significant psychological benefits, which are just as important as physical recovery for optimal performance.
Compression is another effective recovery method for sore muscles. Muscle soreness is a natural protective response that occurs 24-72 hours after a strenuous exercise event due to a buildup of blood lactate and other metabolites. Compression can help decrease muscle swelling and perceived pain, and promote the removal of metabolites so oxygen can be reintroduced to the muscle for overall healing. Compression tights or socks are the simplest way to achieve this, but more advanced methods such as compression boots are also available.
In conclusion, the NBA season is a grueling, physically demanding time for players. To stay healthy throughout the season, players must incorporate rest and recovery into their routines. Rest and Recovery is very important and that is why our scientific proven weighted blanket is a popular option for athletes who need good rest on a night to ensure optimal recovery. Massage/foam rolling, cryotherapy/ice baths, and compression are also all effective methods for supporting recovery needs. By taking care of their bodies, players can ensure that they are performing at their optimal level throughout the entire season.
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