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Take time to recover after workout


CHICAGO – The American Heart Association says that running is good for your heart. 

But for every 100 hours of running, the average runner will suffer at least one injury. That's why it's a good idea to spend time to recover after a workout.

Take your pick: swimming, running, biking -- no matter how old you are, your body takes a beating. Just ask 13-year-old Braxton Bokos. 

"I competitively swim all year round," he said.

Braxton trains hard and recovers even harder.

"For an ounce of exertion in the body, you need 2 ounces of prevention after. You can't just run 20 miles and expect for your body to actually say, 'Hey, that was great, let's just do it again tomorrow,'" said Gina Pongetti, of Achieve Orthopedic Rehab Institute, Sports Medicine.

Pongetti is a former gymnast and triathlete who now runs a facility offering tools and techniques to help athletes heal more quickly between grueling workouts. 

She said focusing on recovery after a workout is a good idea.  

"The next day when you work out, you will actually be able to put more energy into the workout as opposed to the body still residually recovering from the day before," Pongetti said.

Taking time to recover will lower your risk for fatigued-based injuries, such as sprains, strains and stress fractures. 

Pongetti's recovery facility offers cryotherapy to reduce inflammation, electrical muscle stimulation to improve blood circulation, and massage therapy to reduce muscle soreness after an intense workout. 

Swimmer Jen Conroyd braves freezing temperatures to do cryotherapy. 

"Cryotherapy has made a really big difference in my recovery and my performance. I've noticed a big difference in my speeds and my times," she said. 

And no injuries. 

"You give as much attention to your recovery as your work, because what you don't want to do is get to training 20 miles and the next thing you know, you're injured and you're out and you can't finish the marathon," Conroyd said.

Pongetti said if you don't have access to a high-tech recovery facility, self-massage with foam rollers, massage sticks or even tennis balls to help reduce muscle stiffness.