When it comes to training and exercise, as with many things in life, quality is just as important as quantity. If you are training with overly-sore muscles, or when your body simply is not in a good state to be doing so, it will increase your risk of injury and wear you down. That’s why recovery is such an important part of training and exercise. Recovery is a process and a routine, and no single prescription will fit every different person’s needs when it comes to how to get back on your feet in time for the next workout. Thanks to Bert Abbott of Strive and Uplift we’ve compiled the three most important things to keep in mind when developing your recovery routine.
All Stress is Stress
Many find exercise to be a release from stress, or a distraction. But when it comes to training it often means something else to schedule around, somewhere to be that has the equipment you need, along with any number of things to consider. If working out is contributing to stress, whether it’s weighing on your mind or keeping your body fatigued all the time, then your training is going to take a severe dip in quality. Recovery means being able to put in 100% when you want to without it feeling like a chore or a risk, and being able to focus and grow is the goal of training. It’s okay to take a break, shorten a workout, or change things up when you’re not able to put in that 100%. Take the time to want to get back to your exercise routine, or you’ll only be doing yourself more harm.
Sleep and Eat
The other most important pillar of recovery is getting proper rest and nutrition. Your muscles cannot repair themselves if they do not have the adequate supplies (food and water) and time (rest) to do so. Both sleeping and eating habits are highly personal, but if you want to keep the quality of your training high it is important to know what works for you. For sleep, a good tip is to always stop any stimulating activity about an hour before bed. Even if that activity is reading a book, if it’s going to keep you up it won’t help your sleep so put it down before hitting the sack. We’ve released nutrition plans to help with how to eat like an athlete, but the general things to remember when it comes to nutrition are to eat the right ratio of carbs and protein and to do so soon after finishing a workout. More details on post-workout eating can be found here..
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Care for Your Joints and They Will Care for You
Much like sleep and nutrition, caring for your joints is going to depend a lot on what you need and what works for your specific situation. It is important to note that simply stretching or rolling a muscle after a workout does not necessarily mean it will recover faster. Stretching and rolling can sometimes help with loosening a joint or muscle so that you can use the right parts of your body during a workout, but they are specific actions that must be applied carefully to specific parts of your body. Your joints move in different ways according to different muscles. When a muscle is clamped down too tight on one or more of your joints, it can increase the risk of injury and reduce the effectiveness of an activity. Sometimes rolling or stretching might work to reduce this tightness, often mobile warmups and active stretches can also help increase mobility. It’s important to find where you are tight and how your joints behave, and find a way to loosen them safely and effectively that works for you.
When it comes to recovery, the key is to stick to what keeps your body and mind feeling good. So much of training, exercise, and staying in shape is mental. We’ve all had instances where getting out for a run or a workout seems like it would be impossible because we’re sore or tired or just don’t have the energy. It’s okay to not feel great every single day, but it’s important to find the routines that will make you feel as good as possible, both mentally and physically. If you’re unsure where to begin, or the routines you’ve built haven’t been working, we highly recommend consulting with professionals such as Bert or her colleagues at Strive and Uplift. The goal of exercise is to feel good and get stronger, and recovering properly will allow you to do that, without making it feel like a chore.
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