There are many factors which influence how quickly the body refuels, repairs and recovers itself ready for the next workout. Post workout recovery can be equally as important as the workout itself, therefore contributing to a healthy lifestyle. Some of the most effective ways to recover are outlined as follows.
Post workout manipulation and stretching
The use of a foam roller or lacrosse ball for example, to perform self-myofascial release which is a form of manual deep tissue massage, counteracts knotted muscles and fascia that occur as a result of exercise. This technique helps to promote blood flow, which aids the prevention of injury and muscle imbalances.
Stretching following foam rolling would be an ideal time to help the body increase its range of motion. Holding stretches for 30 seconds at a time in areas which traditionally suffer from tightness such as the hip flexors, calves and pectoral muscles assists with joint mobility and elongation of muscle fibres, which over time will produce a more flexible body that moves better.
Not to be underrated. Quality sleep of between 7 to 9 hours allows protein synthesis to occur and growth hormones to be released, thereby generating muscle recovery and regeneration.
Eating and drinking
Ideally consuming both protein and carbohydrates after finishing a workout will help to promote new muscle growth and aid in post workout recovery. Carbohydrates help to shuttle protein into the muscles. A meal containing around 20-30 per cent carbohydrate and between 25-50 grams protein are the guideline amounts to aim for. Consider a whey protein shake – as well as being convenient, the advantage this has over consuming a solid food meal, is that there is faster uptake of the nutrients within the body.
In addition, sufficient water is crucial otherwise the body will not be able to repair itself effectively – this is even more important if the individual is already dehydrated as dehydration can cause muscle damage. Two litres is the minimum amount required on a daily basis without exercise, consequently more is needed when exercising to account for water loss from sweating.
Have a rest day or active rest day
Devoting one or two days per week to give the body a complete rest from exercising (passive recovery). Passive recovery requires stillness – for example relaxing or having a massage. Utilising an ‘active rest or active recovery’ day would mean performing an exercise activity which is easier than those included as part of your normal routine.
Depending on the individuals’ level of fitness, this could encompass 1 exercise such as walking, cycling, swimming or yoga. You should feel better after performing this type of activity than before starting it. Using either passive or active recovery could prevent training burnout, assist recovery and fuel motivation ready for the next hard training session.
In conclusion, training and exercise creates major stresses on the body’s physiological systems, therefore to address any imbalances, employ a variety of post workout recovery tactics to ensure you stay flexible, injury free and healthy while attaining your fitness goals.