Soccer’s a tough sport, both mentally and physically. Whether you win or lose the game, you’re going to need to recover from the nonstop action to get stronger and prepare for your next time on the field. Here are some tips for post-game recovery for women’s soccer players.
Chug, chug, chug!
The fast-paced nature of a soccer game means that you’re going to sweat out a lot of crucial electrolytes — substances like potassium, sodium, and calcium that are vital for keeping your body cool. Water alone is not enough, as it contains no electrolytes. Most sports drinks have appropriate amounts of electrolytes for a recovering athlete, as well as carbohydrates, which your body uses for fuel during high-intensity sports like soccer. Make sure to drink at least 12 ounces of a sports drink within 30 minutes of the final whistle, and keep drinking water for the next 24 hours to continue flushing your system and cooling your body.
A blend of proteins and carbs are the best choice for a post-workout snack. This will help your muscles recover from fast passes, tricky tackles and ferocious free kicks. Make sure to eat within 30 minutes of the end of a game for the best results. Here are some ideas for tasty, nutritious snacks to eat after the game.
Stretch It Out
Stretching after a soccer game helps your muscles recover and helps keep you limber for your next match. It also keeps your blood flowing, which helps clear metabolic waste from your muscles and prevents muscle cramps and spasms. You can find some great post-game stretches for adult athletes here.
Hot ‘n Cold
Soccer players seem split on whether to go hot or cold for immersion baths post-game. Some sources recommend swapping between hot and cold water in a shower, others recommend basing your decision on the timing of your next training session (ice tubs for more training the same day of the game, hot baths with Epsom salts when you aren’t hitting the field again until the next day). Consult your coach or trainer when deciding which option is right for you.
The final blow of the whistle may signal an end to a soccer game, but it’s not over for your body. The right mix of food, hydration, and activity after your women’s soccer game can help your muscles recover faster and give you an edge on the competition for your next match. Now that’s a winning combination!