by Christina Roy of Premier Acupuncture in Boulder
Cycling Recovery & Performance Enhancement = 2 Sides of Same Coin
In Boulder & all over Colorado right now road races, crits & time trials are in full swing. Including training times, a mind blowing amount of miles are being chewed up & elevation conquered.
While training to improve sprint speed, climbing power & overall endurance, the muscles are being broken down while tendons & ligaments are being stressed.
Neurologically & chemically we are always either in the Sympathetic or Parasympathetic mode. During strenuous training & racing the Sympathetic system is in full swing (Fight or Flight mode). A cascade of hormones are released (Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, Cortisol) increasing our power output, enhancing response time, diverting blood from our gut to our extremities, etc. At those moments we are literally hard-wired to perform at our very best. Nothing is free however, all this comes at a cost.
It is only after, IF we allow ourselves to enter the Parasympathetic mode (Rest & Recovery) that progress can acutely be made out of our training efforts. Only then is our body is able to refuel our Glycogen stores, repair & build new muscle tissue, repair tendons, & abolish byproducts & toxins. Then & only then are we ready to perform with true genuine “performance enhancement”.
Most tend to jump the gun in recovery. Just because we feel that we have the energy to hit the road again doesn’t necessarily mean our body is ready, especially our tendons & ligaments. Muscles have incredible blood supply naturally, which is a main reason that they repair quickly. Tendons & ligaments however have very limited blood supply. So with excessive training or chronic over use Tendonitis easily develops & is very stubborn to recede unaided.
For this issue, Acupuncture utilizes electric stimulation to pinpoint & treat the tendons involved (hamstrings, IT band, Achilles) to increase the blood flow to speed actual healing & to reduce the inflammation naturally. This can also be combined with Kinesio Taping, body work, Cupping, & Gua Sha (myofascial release technique) with incredible results.
Proper recovery can be ignored for a while, at a very high cost. Some athletes abuse stimulants, pound anti-inflammatories, or even cross the line to illegal performance enhancement drugs/techniques. But someday the piper must be paid.
If given the chance & the tools, our body is striving 24/7 to heal us. The key is to work with the process naturally to improve both the speed & the quality of the recovery, & thus glean the very most from our training & achieve performance beyond our expectations.
Christina Roy is a licensed acupuncturist practicing in Boulder, Colorado. One of her specialties is treating sports injuries and performance enhancement. To learn more about Christina, visit her site at Premier Acupuncture Boulder