One of our members over at The Pond was asking about how to reduce soreness after hockey. He’s 61 years old and recently started playing hockey in NEW ZEALAND! We welcome (and teach) players of all ages to play the best game in the world, and we want you to feel good after each game, so here’s a list of ways to reduce soreness and aches after hockey. Oh, and remember it’s Never too late to learn hockey!
Pre-Game Dynamic Stretching / Warm-up
We get it, the only warm-up most beer league players do is running through the parking lot and arena lobby because they showed up 5 minutes before the game was supposed to start. Minor hockey players usually warm-up with their team, or are naturally warmed up by playing before their games. If you feel aches and pains after a hockey game, these dynamic stretches should help, and may also increase your performance on the ice. Start with just a few, and if you like them, add to your routine.
Post-game Static Stretches
After a game your muscles may start to seize up (especially if you’ve been sitting at a desk all day doing nothing) To combat this I recommend static stretches. Below are a few really simple ones, in the video they use a stretching band, but I’ve used a towel, or a pair of jeans and that works just fine. This is a simple 3 minute routine, but you could add more stretches to this if needed. I always feel so relaxed after doing this.
If you need more stretches to add to this look for IT band stretches. Here are a few you can do with a band
Hydration + Nutrients
You will need to hydrate before, during, and after a game. Poor hydration can lead to cramping and muscle soreness. On top of this the proper nutrients also help. Chug some water before your game to pre-hydrate. Sip water after each shift, and then get some more water in you when you get home.
I like to also eat healthy foods like vegetables and fruits (bananas really help after a game) to provide more hydration, as well as the nutrients and electrolytes the body needs. Another benefit of eating fruits is the glucose in fruits helps restore the glucose in your muscles that was used during game play (in turn reducing lactic acid build up that causes soreness)
Cool Down / Cold Showers
There is a reason NHL players ride a bike and take an ice bath after games (In fact Marleau takes one between periods!). The bike keeps their muscles moving and helps stop lactic acid from building in their muscles. The ice bath gets blood flowing to the muscles which also helps clear out lactic acid. Most of us don’t have ice baths and exercise bikes at home, but a quick walk and ending your shower with cold water for a few minutes will have a similar effect.
Myofascial Release / Rolling out the Muscles
NHL star John Tavares was asked what he always travels with, and his answer was “Ipad, Snacks, Foam Roller” A foam roller is a device a lot of NHL players use to reduce muscle soreness after workouts or games. You are essentially giving yourself a massage using either rubber balls, or foam rollers. Here is a master class in foam rolling
That pretty much wraps up how you can reduce aches after hockey ( also known as DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness). If you’re just learning to play, or want to improve your hockey skills we’d love to have you join us on The Pond. Our courses will walk you through all the major skills with easy to follow step-by-step instruction.