In the world of endurance sports, and especially in triathlon, there are some funky recovery gadgets out there. From the Normatec “spaceman” pants to cryotherapy chambers, there are a lot of products available that can quickly leave you looking at your bank account and scratching your head. Don’t take this the wrong way, recovery is essential, but here are a few alternatives for the most expensive recovery gadgets.
Ice bath – Free
An alternative to cryotherapy, though it doesn’t have as cool a name, are ice baths. Athletes have been using these for centuries and the best part is that it doesn’t cost you anything. You could even do a hot-cold contrast, jumping between cold and hot baths.
Frozen water bottle – Free
Useful for treating plantar fasciitis (painful inflammation of the connective tissue between the heel and toes), a bottle of ice kept in the freezer for foot rolling helps relieve the inflammation as well as the pain. Best of all, it can be done while reading, sitting at the computer, talking on the phone, or watching TV.
Tennis/Lacrosse/Golf Ball – Free if you already have one
Similarly, rolling along a tennis, lacrosse or golf ball has a beneficial effect on the injured area. Once again, it’s cheap, convenient, and takes up almost no space.
Icy Hot – CDN $11.99
Introduced to the public more than 40 years ago, Icy Hot claims to be the #1 selling topical pain relief brand in America (but Canadians like it too). The active ingredient is menthol, which temporarily numbs the pain of muscle strains, sprains, bruises, cramps, and arthritis for up to 12 hours. Icy Hot is best used for pain relief of sore muscles.
Rolling Stick – US $27.50 and up
Not as chunky as a foam roller, a rolling stick is easy to pack and cheaper. Invented 30 years ago, The Stick is the original classic, hand-held stick roller. It works as a self-massage tool to break up muscle knots that inhibit range of motion and performance and that cause pain. The one-inch plastic spindles rotate freely around The Stick’s core, allowing the user to control the intensity of rolling. A variety of lengths, sizes, and degrees of flexibility are available.