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Table 1 Mean participant ratings (1-5) of the importance of different reasons why specific recovery strategies are used; 1 = not important reason; 3 = neither important nor unimportant reason; 5 = very important reason

From: Team sport athletes’ perceptions and use of recovery strategies: a mixed-methods survey study

Reasons why a recovery is performed (selected from a list of predetermined options) Active, land-based recovery (N = 82) Active, water-based recovery (N = 100) Stretching (N = 144) Cold water immersion (N = 89) Contrast water therapy (N = 52)
Helps me to wind down and relax 3.5 a 3.8 b 3.7 b 3.3 3.6
Gives me time to socialise with team mates 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.1 3.0
Gives me time to reflect on the training session or match 3.3 c 3.1 3.3 c 3.2 3.0
Makes me feel good 3.4 d 4.0 3.9 3.8 3.8
Is what I have seen the elite athletes do 2.6 d 3.0 3.1 3.4 d 2.9
Is something the coach told me to do 3.3 3.3 3.4 3.4 3.3
Will increase muscle performance 3.2 d 3.6 3.8 4.0 d 3.6
Speeds up removal of waste product from muscles 3.6 e 3.8 3.8 3.9 3.9
Decreases muscle soreness 3.9 f 4.1 4.2 4.1 4.1
Reduces swelling and inflammation 3.4 c 3.6 3.7 4.2 d 3.8
Reduces muscle spasms 3.3 a,b,f 3.8 c 3.8 c 3.7 3.5
Increases blood circulation 3.7 3.8 e 3.6 3.5 3.5
Reduces stress and anxiety 3.2 a 3.7 e 3.4 3.3 3.3
Makes me feel energetic 2.9 a 3.3 b 3.1 3.0 3.2
Can improve healing 3.3 d 3.7 b,f 4.0 c 4.1 c 3.6
Helps me to switch off 3.0 a 3.3 b,f 3.0 3.0 3.3
Helps me to be able to train/compete hard again in the next session/game 3.5 d 3.8 4.1 4.0 4.0
Lowers heart rate 3.2 3.1 3.2 3.1 3.1
Creates a pumping action in the muscles 2.9 a 3.2 f 2.8 e 3.0 3.1
  1. a Significantly different from active, water-based
  2. b Significantly different from cold water immersion
  3. c Significantly different from contrast water therapy
  4. d Significantly different from all other recoveries
  5. e Significantly different from cold water immersion and contrast water therapy
  6. f Significantly different from stretching