A balanced combination of rest and recovery along with proper diet and hydration should be part of any fitness regimen. Exercise is an essential part of maintaining general health and fitness but post workout rest and recovery is often overlooked. It’s important to make a plan and allocate a proper amount of time to rest and recover. Recovery is multifaceted and encompasses more than just muscle repair. Studies at University of Michigan Medical Center show recovery involves chemical and hormonal balance, nervous system repair as well as your mental state.
Building recovery time into your training program is important because this is the time the body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real training effect takes place. Be sure to log your training activity and listen to your body so you can make adjustments to your workout and recovery routine.
Elements of Rest and Recovery
Rest – Sleep is the prime time for your body to recover. According to Mayoclinic.com Adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. It’s also important to make sure you rest certain muscle groups by changing your workout intensity, distance and style through cross training.
Refueling (diet) – Drinking water throughout the day and after workouts while eating clean balanced meals in moderation is proven to be effective to remain healthy and increase fitness levels. Try to avoid sugars and processed foods by shopping and planning meals ahead of time.
Stretching – Many professionals in the health and healing world have varying opinions on proper stretching techniques. At James Fowler PT we believe in listening to your body and dynamic stretching. It’s important to do a comprehensive warm up and cool down before and after a workout. Make sure to save the static stretching for after your workouts and cool down.
Foam Rolling and Massage – A massage or foam rolling can help your body to relax and also improve circulation. Many have found Foam rolling can help muscles to recover faster and helps avoid future overuse injuries. Massages can help with muscle soreness, stiffness and help to release stress/anxiety.
Dynamic stretching is a form of stretching beneficial in sports utilizing momentum from form, and the momentum from static-active stretching strength, in an effort to propel the muscle into an extended range of motion not exceeding one’s static-passive stretching ability.