The Aftermath

Have you ever woken up the day after a performance and felt as if your body has been run over by a truck? Welcome to the aftermath! Most people have come to recognize the day-after body aches as the norm, almost unavoidable; however, this should not be the case.

In the course of a competitive season, continual occurrences of aches and pains can begin to cause harm to your muscles and negatively affect ability over the course of your color guard career. We often focus on training, perfecting and performing, but doing so addresses only three quarters of the performance cycle. To leave the last quarter undone is like completing only the first three songs of a field show and then dropping equipment and walking away as the finale music rises to a magnificent crescendo and the crowd roars for more. A bit of a letdown, wouldn’t you say?

Implementing a consistent aftermath routine will pay dividends in the long run. Here’s a short list to slay the morning-after blues!

• Do restore your heart rate to a resting level. Keep moving and walk lightly for at least five to 10 minutes. Intense and elongated movement causes increased blood flow to muscles; immediate stopping can cause blood to pool in your legs.

• Do stretch major muscles and any area that feels tight.

• Do elevate your legs and arms, lying on your back with legs resting against a wall or chair. This position will help move blood back to your heart; it will also help with swelling of hands and feet.

• Do eat protein and drink lots of water within an hour. Protein will bring recovery to your muscles while water or sports drinks will replenish lost fluids.

• Do ice sore joints or muscles to help reduce inflammation and pain.

• Do gently massage muscles to relax overworked areas.

• Do get at least six to eight hours of sleep. Proper rest helps maintain and increase performance stamina.

About the Author

Chris Casteel has been involved in the color guard activity for more than 20 years. She is currently an adjudicator for Drum Corps International, Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association and the Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC). She travels to many other circuits throughout the United States as a guest adjudicator. For the past several years, she has held the position of education coordinator for the WGASC. She has a master’s degree in education and currently teaches middle school language arts.

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