Whether you have just started exercising or have been doing so for a while, many people are hesitant to take time to rest. Many people associate resting with failure or they are worried that they will lose both motivation and the progress they have made if they don’t train every day. Contrary to popular belief, taking time to recover actually does the opposite. Let’s find out why that is and what different methods you can use to boost your recovery after training.
When you think about your training in a week, you probably have at least one session that you feel is the most important. This, for most people, is the day you really push yourself and see what you are made of. Well, I am here to let you know that your most important training session is not actually your very long run on a Saturday morning, but actually the time you spend recovering. The benefits of recovery are vast and can be broken down and looked at along with different recovery methods.
After each training session, you can start the recovery process by cooling down. One of the best ways to do this is to do light aerobic exercise for around 5 minutes directly after your session, followed by stretching. Cooling down helps to:
- Bring body temperature back to normal slowly
- Brings new blood to your muscles, helping with lactic acid removal
- Brings your heart rate back down, to its resting rate, slowly
This form of recovery still includes exercise. If you have completed a particularly tough training session then you might benefit from including a lighter aerobic training session the following day. This can include any form of low-intensity training such as a light jog, swim or cycle for 20 minutes. This supports the recovery process but ensures that you do not overexert your body.
Passive recovery refers to taking a full day of rest before your next training session. This is typically recommended following an intensive training session. If you have just started training then you might benefit from this form of rest as well, as this will prevent overtraining and injuries.
One of the most enjoyable recovery methods is massage. This method of self-care has numerous benefits for the recovery process, such as:
- ↓ The feeling of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
- ↓ Perceived pain levels
- ↓ Fatigue associated with perceived pain
- ↓ Risk of potential muscle damage.
- ↑ Blood flow to the muscles
While a regular balanced diet is optimal for everyone, especially for those who are training, there are numerous nutrition components that can help specifically with recovery. These include:
- Omega 3 – is a natural anti-inflammatory nutrient that helps to prevent too much inflammation from occurring. When we exercise, inflammation (swelling inside the body) occurs. This is normal and our bodies do require inflammation after exercise to help you adapt to the training regimen. However, too much inflammation will hinder the recovery process. By ensuring your diet is enough in omega 3, you can help to control the inflammatory process and therefore boost recovery.
- Antioxidants – help to protect your body from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that build up in the body during exercise. If too many of these build up then it makes it difficult for the body to recover effectively after training. By ensuring that your diet is full of antioxidants, you can help your body to remove these free radicals. This helps to promote effective recovery.
Something as simple as sleep is considered a recovery method. While sleep may be something simple, its power is often underestimated. In the context of recovery, sleep helps to:
- ↓ cortisol (commonly known as the stress hormone) – this helps to increase muscle protein formation
- ↑ formation and release of growth hormone – this helps with muscle and tissue repair
- ↓ injury risk – by increasing balance, decision-making skills and mental performance
- ↓ cold/ flu risk – by rejuvenating your immune system
Now that you know a bit more about the importance of recovery and different recovery methods, it is vital that you think about your own recovery process following training. To find out whether you require more recovery time, antioxidants and omega 3 based upon your genetic makeup, make the better choice and choose to do FitwellgxTM+ test today!