The importance of recovery
The importance of recovery
Recovery is the time in which the body will repair and strengthen itself after an intense period of exercise or a singular exercise session. If we avoid having rest periods, the constant training state can weaken even the most experienced and strongest of trainers.
Performance is directly affected when we do not allow the body to recover for a large variety of reasons. These reasons are commonly physiological, but may also be psychological. Rest is of most importance for the muscles to recover but also to maintain a healthy life balance between work, exercise, and home life.
Adapting to exercise will allow you to come back and increase performance on the next attempt. It is also important to include recovery time, as it is during this time that muscle and liver glycogen are replenished. This replenishment not only prepares you for the next session, but assists in the repair of damaged tissues from your workout.
There are a range of effective ways to recover:
- Cool down: slow down at the end of your workout instead of just stopping. Removing the lactic acid from your blood will reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.
- Stretch: Tight muscles decrease performance as well as hinder recovery. Take the time to stretch post workout, even if it is at home in front of the TV. Fifteen to 20 minutes per session should be sufficient.
- Active recovery: As noted earlier, by completing some active recovery, we continually circulate extra nutrients through the blood stream, which will assist in muscle repair as well as help your muscle and liver glycogen stores replenish at a faster rate.
Avoid overtraining: Be smart and follow a workout plan that has ample recovery time. A lack of rest and recovery will limit your results and have you feeling worse for wear.
- Massage: Increasing blood circulation assists in recovery as noted in the active recovery point above. Apart from feeling good, this treatment will help you relax and recover. Foam rolling is an option if you can’t afford to pay for regular treatments.
- Sleep: This is a no brainer really. If we sleep we recover. Tissue growth and repair are at their best when you sleep as the body secretes higher levels of growth hormone to assist in recovery.
- Drink plenty of water: Without ample water, the metabolic functions in our body may as well not exist. Water is responsible for all metabolic functions from weight loss to recovery. Water is of even more importance to those who complete regular long duration workouts. The sweat must be replaced.
- Make sure you eat: We all know that depletion of muscle and liver glycogen is exactly what happens every time we exercise. Considering the nutrients and energy contained in the food we eat are responsible for the performance we put out when we train, eating properly is paramount to achieving results. Remember to eat both sufficient amounts of protein and carbohydrates post workout.
- Listen to your body: If you are starting to feel tired or sore, it may well be an opportunity to have an extra day’s rest or complete some form of active recovery. If you feel you are up to another repeat high performance session, then go for it. Listen to the warning signs discussed earlier and trust that you know your body.