No matter how often I hit the gym, or go for a bike ride, or brave the elements to go for a run…..
….nothing – ever – prepares me for the aftermath of a grueling game of 5-a-side football.
I could do a triathlon every week (no I couldn’t) but I’d still ache like hell if I played just one hour of football; twisting and turning and trying to sprint on a little fives pitch.
And these days, it’s not only the next day that it hurts. I played a game last week – my first in about six months – and I was still groaning a full 48hrs later. I had a bath, stretched (well, tried to…) and rested, but it still took me three full days to feel normal again.
My legs get the worst of it. I wake up the next morning barely able to lift them out of bed. They do get better as the day goes on….but then I go to sleep again and when I wake up the next morning, they’re even worse.
My back aches too. My hips hurt. The squidgy bit just above the hips (that isn’t even supposed to be there in the first place!) is achey too.
Is this age? Or is this just what being a dad is?
Or……is my body finally telling me to stop trying to be what I will never, ever be and just restrict myself to the odd brisk walk?
Well, maybe not….
Joanne Groves, an educator, author and exercise trainer based in Wimbledon and with 20 years’ experience in the fitness industry, tells me there may be life in the old dog yet!
“The reason for the soreness is due to a couple of factors”, Joanne told me.
(Booze and dirty food…?)
“It’s a lack of specific preparation, and therefore a lack of conditioning” she said. “The soreness is often described as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and can leave you feeling tight and not wanting to move”.
So how do I prepare for a game so that I don’t feel like a 90 yr old man the next day?
Five tips for five-a-side recovery
1) Keep moving! You may not feel like you want to move but this will keep blood flowing.
2) Take a relaxing bath or cold shower, giving you the opportunity to rest.
3) Massage. Who doesn’t love a little skin touch? This does not have to be painful as a gentle message will stimulate blood flow.
4) Compressed clothing – again, this will increase blood flow, adding recovery.
5) Make sure your training better matches your movement goal, and you will soon find your conditioning improves reducing the symptoms.
So there we go; it’s really not that complicated! And I fully intend to give it a try, if it means prolonging what has always been an eventful, if perhaps modest, career in football.
And you should too!
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