Recovery is essential to restore a player’s physiological and psychological capacities. Prompt and sufficient recovery between training and games can also improve performance by enhancing training quality and tolerance to the training load, as well as improving the adaptation to training. Multiple training sessions or competitions without proper recovery can increase a polo player’s risk to get injured and can lead to poorer performance standards.
Nutrition (post-activity; within two hours): Water, carbohydrates, and protein are the priorities; however, with heavy sweating, sodium replacement may also warrant particular attention. A carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drink, protein snack (e.g., energy bar, yogurt, nuts), or other carbohydrate sources (e.g., fruit, chocolate milk, pretzels) work well for immediate nutrient recovery.
Active recovery: Low-intensity exercise that utilizes the major muscle groups just used in training or competition is a good way to let your body know that it has finished exercising and help with metabolic waste removal and muscle cell recovery. As little as five minutes can be effective.
Static stretching: Stretching your muscles after exercise while the body is at rest (each stretching position is held for 15-20 seconds) can relax your muscles and increase your range of motion. The intention is to also accelerate recovery, as well as reduce injury risk and enhance performance the next time you train or compete.
Compression garments: Given the demands that training and competition have on muscle structure, compression garments (compression leggings and tops) may be useful in aiding recovery and enhancing subsequent performance by reducing soreness and swelling in the muscles that are the result of exercise induced muscle damage.
Hydrotherapy: This is a form of exercise carried out in a specially heated pool. The water is approximately 34 degrees Celsius. The combination of extra heat and the buoyancy of the water provide a relaxing medium in which pain relieving exercises can be carried out and thus improve general fitness levels. Hydrotherapy techniques help in reducing the physiological responses to exercise related muscle micro-damage associated with “Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness”.
Massage: A massage has a number of benefits including maintaining the body generally in better condition, preventing injuries and loss of mobility, restoring mobility to injured muscle tissue. It may also extend the overall life of your polo career and boost performance.