best-recovery-tactics-after-exercise
best-recovery-tactics-after-exercise
best-recovery-tactics-after-exercise

WHY REST & RECOVERY AFTER EXERCISE IS ESSENTIAL

Apr 18, 2024

Fitness

WHY

Research has shown that rest and recovery may be one of the most important parts of a successful training program. Rest allows the body to refuel, recover and get ready for more training to help achieve more fitness goals. During rest, glycogen stores are restocked, which give our bodies the fuel to not only workout, but to complete simple, everyday tasks. One of the most important reasons to allow time for rest and recovery is to prevent overtraining and injuries.

WHAT

There are two types of recovery you can do on a rest day: passive or active recoveries. Passive recovery involves taking the day entirely off from exercise.

  1. Passive recovery involves take the day off entirely from exercise. This could you do almost nothing and is only warranted in the case of certain types of injury. This type of recovery can often lean towards feeling sore for longer and limit your ability to recover and treat quicker.

  1. Active recovery is when you engage in low-intensity movement, placing minimal stress on the body, if any… This can include massage (self-massage or by professional), mobility exercises or general light physical activity. Active is always a great choice because muscles and joints love circulation and activity, especially after a challenging workout.

WHEN

The number of rest days needed will vary based on your workout routines and it’s intensity. But regardless of your exercise schedule, it’s important to listen to your body.

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), here are some signs you need a rest day:

  • Feeling moody or stressed

  • Fatigue increase and.or Insomnia

  • Loss of appetite

  • Low energy during workouts

  • Excessive pain or discomfort

HOW

  1. Rest
    Sleep is one of the most important times of recovery. Adequate levels of sleep will help mental health, hormonal balance, and muscular recovery. Make sure to get plenty of rest, especially if you are training hard. Inadequate sleep can result in hormone level changes (ex: stress).


  2. Refuel
    Hydrate! Drinking sufficient amounts of water is critical to health, energy, recovery, and performance. Water helps with all of our daily functions, like lower stress levels, skin improvement, more efficient nutrient intake, etc…

    Speaking of nutrition, everything you eat has the ability to either help heal your body, or hurt it. If you need help, check out my other blog on choosing the right diet plan. The key is to aim for balance so you get the results you want, but also function as a normal person while still enjoying life.


  3. Body Work
    Whether you get it from a professional or from using the many terrific tools and methods for self-massage, massaging can enhance recovery by increasing circulation. Our bodies are like large skin bags full of water. When we compress a part of the body, we squeeze out “old” fluid that carries the waste products of muscle breakdown. When we release that pressure, fresh blood comes in to deliver the nutrients and warmth to help with repair and rebuilding.

    Mobility exercises use full range of motion on a joint to pump more blood through the muscle. This allows you to enhance blood flow to all the muscles surrounding a joint without overloading any of the muscles because most mobility exercises are unloaded or performed using very little body weight. 

    Baths
    Ice baths or contrast water therapy (alternating between cold and warm water) are sometimes employed as a recovery strategy. Research is mixed on the benefits of these strategies, with some studies finding them to help and others finding them to increase soreness perceptions following strenuous exercise. I don’t typically recommend people try these, but if you have tried them and found they work for you, then carry on!

Remember: recovery today allows for greater production tomorrow! Make sure you’re incorporating rest & recovery days into your fitness schedule—you AND your body deserve it!

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