Your ride exceeded the distance and speed you usually ride, so you had an absolute blast. As your heart rate drops, you start to feel stiff and tight in your muscles, not to mention an unquenchable thirst. What happens next?
Recovery after moderate to high-intensity exercise is essential to ensuring our overall health and longevity. If we do not take the appropriate precautions to heal and recover our bodies, we are at risk for muscle strain, general fatigue, and overall burnout, not to mention long-term effects such as chronic pain. Here are a few of the most important recovery steps you should take after any type of electric bike ride. These rest and recovery tips will allow you to stay ahead of the dreaded side effects of a good workout so you can stop postponing plans due to an aching body or sore muscles!
Fuel for Thought
Without food, we wouldn’t be able to do half of the things that we, humans, are able to do. Food is what fuels us. Although the majority of our energy can come from traditional plates consisting of a protein, a carbohydrate or starch, a fat, and some form of green (Again, health is wealth! Don’t forget to eat your veggies.), we humans are always on the go, and sometimes, we don’t have enough time to eat a full-balanced meal right after a bike ride. Introducing: a post workout recovery drink.
Workout recovery drinks are not intended to be meal replacements, but instead, are a way to rapidly replenish your body and boost your depleted energy after a period of activity. They conveniently provide our bodies with carbohydrates, electrolytes, fluid to combat dehydration, and protein. Ongoing research trends suggest that recovery drinks with a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein may be most optimal for workout recovery, including ones like electric bike riding. Together, carbohydrates replenish depleted glucose levels, which is the main source of fuel for our cells, and protein assists in more sustainable muscle recovery.
There isn’t one recovery drink that is better than another, and ultimately, you’ll be the judge of what feels and works best for you. If you decide to stick by this ratio, however you achieve it is entirely up to you. You can buy prepackaged recovery drinks that meet the standard or can come up with your own concoction using protein powders, electrolytes, and carbs. Another simple recovery drink option is a glass of chocolate milk which is about 30 grams of carbs and 8 grams of protein!
If you thought incorporating a stretching routine only before your bike ride was enough, then we’re terribly sorry to break this news to you. While stretching as a quick warm-up before any sort of physical activity is important, stretching after is what really counts for recovery. You want to properly cool down and de-stress your muscles while they’re still activated. Repeat the same three simplified stretches we wrote about earlier, only this time, after you complete your electric bike ride. Trust us, your quads, hamstrings, and glute/hip flexors will thank you for this!
Massage Guns Relieve Sore Muscles
Massage guns, also known as percussion massagers, offer all the benefits of a traditional massage without the expense of paying a massage therapist for one! Percussive therapy can provide a deep-tissue massage, and these devices typically include a variety of attachments, such as interchangeable massage heads with differing degrees of firmness and size, as well as variable speeds.
Perhaps you are wondering how a percussive massage device could possibly help with ebike recovery. The action of this powerful tool is to reduce inflammation by targeting our muscle tissue; it flushes inflammatory fluids that accumulate within our muscle tissue into the bloodstream. Thus, this can help relax tight and tense muscles, minimize muscle soreness and pain, and promote overall relaxation and wellness. Percussive therapy is as effective as traditional massage techniques and therapies for preventing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
Due to their ease of use and proven efficiency in reducing tension and boosting bodily function, percussion massagers are a useful tool for people of all athletic abilities.
Brr..ing on the Ice Bath
On the topic of inflammation, ice baths are another key component to consider adding to your post-e-bike ride recovery routine! Remember seeing athletes in movies jump into bathtubs full of ice, and never really knowing why they’d willingly sit in pounds of ice? And no, in real-life, a bathtub full of ice isn’t really necessary, although if you can pull it off, power to ya!
Ice baths are actually infamous for decreasing overall bodily inflammation, delaying muscle soreness, and improving circulation. To put this “bio-hack” into simpler terms, ice-cold temperatures constrict our blood vessels, causing our body temperatures to decrease. When we start the rewarming process, our blood vessels then start increasing circulation. This is where our internal healing and post workout recovery happen. While most specialists recommend bathing in ice water that is between 55-59 degrees Fahrenheit for about a maximum of 10 minutes, don’t be afraid to be more conventional with your exposure to this recovery modality. Begin at a temperature more within your comfort zone, and then gradually decrease the more you ice bath. The same applies to the length of time you are able to tolerate the colder temperatures. A minute sustained even in 70-degree-Fahrenheit water is still a minute to be proud of!
Prioritize Catching Those ZZZ’s
Last, and certainly not least, there is an important correlation between a restorative night’s sleep and muscle recovery. Experts recommend aiming to get between 7-9 hours of restful sleep per night. Muscle-building growth hormones (GH) are secreted during the non-REM sleep phase, which essentially is known as ‘deep sleep.’ GH hormones are partially responsible for muscle recovery, and poor sleep has a direct effect on how your muscles will recover.
In an effort to get a better night’s rest, it’s recommended to:
- Limit caffeine intake and exposure to blue fluorescent lights. Yes, that means late-night social media scrolling and tv binging will have to go or be minimized.
- Try to consistently go to bed at the same time every night. If you’re a night owl, try to go to bed earlier, subsequently scheduling your ‘winding down’ pastimes sooner as well.
- Exercise is a large factor in tiring our bodies in preparation for a restful night’s sleep, so keep up your ebike workouts!