5 Ways to Recover Fast After a Hard Swim Practice

Michael Butler
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Sleep More .

If you exercise hard enough, it will likely keep you up late at night. If you’re like me, then you can sleep for 12 hours. That’s a lot of sleep. So if you’re feeling overtrained, focus on getting more rest.

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Forget ice .

Ice baths are good for reducing inflammation but they aren’t the best way to cool down after a hard swim practice. And they’re not so good for the skin either.

In my experience, cold showers are one of the best ways to cool down after a hard swim practice or competition. While it may take some getting used to, soon you’ll be counting down the minutes until your next cold shower!

But if cold showers aren’t your thing, there are other ways to help you cool down after a hard swim practice.

As a good swimmer you should be able to control your breathing and thus your heart rate as well. Use this to your advantage to help you recover faster by slowing your breathing and heart rate. With a regular technique environment, it generally takes about 30 seconds to reach the point where you need to breathe between or after your strokes. And when you’ve reached this point, you’ll feel under control to start breathing normally again. As an unexpected benefit, slowing down your heart rate with breathing can help you extend the time that you can swim with correct body position.

Fuel up properly .

If you’ve been training hard for a while, your muscles are probably craving some extra protein. A recovery smoothie made with a banana, yogurt and a generous scoop of protein powder can do the trick.

If you’ve been training hard for a while, your muscles are probably craving some extra protein. A recovery smoothie made with a banana, yogurt and a generous scoop of protein powder can do the trick. Dehydration is a common cause of muscle soreness, especially after a hard swim practice, so make sure that you replenish the fluids that you’ve lost. Sports drinks can be a great option, as they’re packed with electrolytes and carbohydrates.


Like any workout, you need to replace those sweat and electrolyte losses to rehydrate and restore those minerals that you’ve lost. Since swimming is low impact, you probably don’t need to drink as much as you would during a workout like weight lifting, but you still should replace those fluids fast and try to stay hydrated throughout the rest of the day.

If you’ve just finished an intense workout, you’re likely to be hungry. That’s important because protein and carbohydrates help your muscles recover faster.

If you don’t feel like eating a full meal, try a smoothie. For a simple smoothie, blend a banana, milk, yogurt, and maple syrup.

If you’re trying to build muscle or lose weight, try drinking a protein shake. Combine a scoop of protein powder, milk, and frozen berries for extra flavor and nutrients.

Assault soreness and knots with a foam roller and a lacrosse ball.

Swimmers are far from the only athletes who feel aches and pains the day after a particularly grueling practice or workout.


A 15-20 minute treatment where you use a salt scrub to remove dead skin and expose your skin to air can reduce a lot of the soreness that results from a hard workout. A good salt scrub should have sea salt, essential oils and a moisturizer. The salt helps to exfoliate the skin, the essential oils stimulate blood flow, and the moisturizer hydrates your skin.

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t do this on your own, you should go to a spa with a esthetician who can assist you. If you want to do this at home you have to be super careful about the application, as it can be pretty harsh on your skin. Avoid applying anything heavily scented to a freshly scrubbed face, and don’t use anything abrasive, like grains of sugar, because it will make the situation worse.

Stretch and Come Back

Doing a gentle stretching routine will increase the circulation in your muscles, which decreases the level of soreness you’re experiencing.

After a tough workout, you need to pay close attention to your body to make sure it recovers and adapts well. Poor nutrition or physical neglect can lead to overtraining syndrome or worsen an injury.

After a hard swim practice, you should first engage in self-care, keep your mind busy with other things, and rest. Try to avoid alcohol or sugar, since they can increase inflammation.

So what’s the best way to recover fast? Here are a few tips:

Fuel yourself with nutrient-rich food, such as lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats.

Drink plenty of water.

Get lots of rest.

Walk it off your legs and stretch.

Take a hot shower or bath to loosen your muscles.