Exercise recovery is necessary to prevent injury. Injuries are among the top reasons why people quit exercise programs and give up on their fitness goals.
These injuries have many causes including:
- over training
- neglecting to warm up or cool down before and after a workout
- poor form
- failure to set aside adequate time for recovery.
As a result of exercise injuries, many people find that they make no or slow progress in reaching there fitness goals. These injuries may result in a myriad other negative effects including:
- adrenal fatigue
- quicker muscle fatigue
- reduced strength.
Following are some strategies that you could use to improve your exercise recovery.
Hydrate well – Are you drinking enough?
Up to 75% of your muscle mass is made up of water. It is therefore important to ensure that your muscles are getting enough fluid to perform their functions properly. The average person loses up to 1.7 liters sweating during a workout. Getting dehydrated can harm the muscles, causing them to cramp and leading to injuries like strains, tears, and others.
To prevent injury, you need to ensure that you are hydrating enough before, during and after your workout. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you should drink 20 ounces of fluid four hours before your workout. You should also drink up to 8 ounces of fluid for every 15-20 minutes of exercise. You should also ensure that you are drinking at least 2 liters or half a gallon of water daily. Drinking this amount will aid both recovery and normal body processes.
Another way to determine how much fluid you should be drinking is by weighing yourself before and after your workout. You can weight yourself before and after a workout. Subtract the end weight from the starting weight to find weight lost during working. You should drink 24 ounces of fluid for each pound lost.
Micro nutrient supplementation
Micro nutrients are groups of vitamins and minerals that perform a variety of functions including.
- boosting immunity
- preventing degenerative neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s
- metabolizing carbohydrates and converting them to energy
- creating red blood cells and aiding in workout recovery.
Micro nutrients include Vitamin A, the B Vitamins as well as Vitamins C, D, E and K. they also include macro minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Many micro nutrients are available through a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. However, it’s not always possible to get these nutrients through diet and you may need to consult a nutritionist to draw up the right supplementation program for you.
Micro nutrients are especially effective in preventing injuries during long and intense workouts. Each micro nutrient performs different functions that aid in recovery. For instance, Vitamin C has antioxidant properties which help it repair the connective tissues in muscles and aid recovery. It also helps to flush lactic acid out of the muscles leading to quicker repair. B Vitamins assist with cell development and the building of new muscle tissue after an intense workout. Iron helps to restore energy and reduce fatigue while Zinc helps to repair muscle tissue after a workout. Magnesium is depleted quickly during strenuous exercise – including running – and this can lead to cramping and increased risk of injury.
Foam rolling is another strategy that athletes use to prepare for and recover from injury. A foam roller is simply a cylindrical tube made from foam. It is used to improve body flexibility and reduce muscle soreness by eliminating muscle knots after exercise. One of the greatest advantages of foam rolling is that it helps to prevent delayed onset of muscle soreness, shortening your recovery time and enabling you to return to your workout sooner. Foam rollers work by massaging sore or tight muscles to release tension and relieve pain and soreness.
A foam roller is one of the more affordable recovery tools on the market and it comes in a variety of sizes and textures. Many gyms also offer foam rolling as part of their services to help you recover after your workout. Having a foam roller is however essential if you work out at home or simply want to enjoy the benefits of foam rolling from the comfort of your own home.
Another very effective tool similar to a roller is the trigger ball, which is a spikey ball that you roll around the affected area, but gets in deeper and more precisely to work on and reduce tension in the affected muscles.
Most pro and elite athletes sleep up to ten hours a night to ensure that their body gets enough rest for recovery. Besides, many of them sleep in a bit longer during weekends to allow for adequate recovery.
While sleeping for long hours might not be realistic for regular people who have to juggle exercise, work, and family, you can significantly improve the quality of your sleep by avoiding television and computer screens an hour before bed, going to bed at the same time every day and taking calming drinks like chamomile tea and others to help you sleep.
Exercise recovery tools
Elite athletes need to perform at a higher level than regular gym-goers, which is why they make recovery a crucial part of their training programs. One of the ways they do this is by investing in quality tools to aid in recovery and help them get back to training as quickly as possible.
If you would like to improve recovery time and prevent injuries, consider investing in recovery tools that help you loosen muscles before and after your workout, stimulate quicker blood flow to the muscles, help you sleep, relieve muscle tension after a workout and target hard to reach areas such as your back.
When choosing workout recovery tools, go for peer-reviewed options, start with simple tools and choose the ones that fit your budget. Besides, and if your budget allows for it, invest in a variety of tools that target different parts of your body and different muscle sizes.
Some of the best tools you can use to aid recovery include; massage balls, resistance bands, recovery footwear, compression socks, and cooling mattresses.
When working out, the problem with over training is often due to a particular muscles or muscle group being exhausted. Blood flow allows rapid recovery of the muscle(s) in question, so a great way to recover can be to cross train. So something completely different to what you were doing as a workout, but with different muscles, and a lower intensity. This could be a swim, an easy bike ride, bodyweight exercises, a jog, whichever of those is different from what caused the muscles to need to recover, and does not use those muscles, or doesn’t use them much.
Exercise Recovery Conclusion
Prioritizing exercise recovery is one of the best ways to ensure that you perform optimally. To do this, you will have to implement a variety of strategies that ensure quicker and more complete recovery.
- micro-nutrient supplementation
- investing in quality workout tools
- getting enough sleep