The time period after exercise, also known as your recovery time, is important to help your body recuperate after a workout. Recovery doesn’t just mean waiting for your muscles to lose their post-workout soreness. The importance of recovery and rest is often overlooked, which can impact on your progress. Today I’m going to talk about the actions you can take to encourage your body’s natural healing processes.
Following a workout, your body goes through a number of hormonal and chemical changes. Recovery not only helps to restore your body, but may also help improve function and performance. Without proper recovery, it may take longer for you to reach your fitness goals. While there are no shortcuts, try following these tips to give your body the best chance to recover in time for the next workout.
Warm up and cool down
An effective warm up routine helps gets the blood flowing to your muscles and joints, which also helps to reduce the chance of an injury. Stretching prior to your workout can help improve flexibility, as well as slowly increase your heart rate and blood flow.
Likewise, stretching and foam rolling at the end of your workout can help to reduce muscle soreness, making it easier to get into your next training session. Check out my pre- and post-workout stretching blog here.
Water fuels your body by helping every part of it to function, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes! When you exercise, you can lose a lot of fluids through sweat, particularly during high-intensity workouts like my BBG. Dehydration can affect your body during and long after your workout. Topping up your fluid levels can help keep a number of your body’s systems in check, reduce cramps and gives you an energy boost.
To stay hydrated, make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day — this includes before, during and after exercise. I personally think that plain water is one of the best options, as pre-mixed sports drinks can contain lots of sugar. If you enjoy the taste, coconut water also contains natural electrolytes.
Schedule regular foam rolling sessions
You’re probably sick of hearing me talk about foam rollers, but they really are a great investment in your recovery and wellbeing! Foam rollers can help to reduce muscle tension and ”knots”, improving your general muscle function. Foam rolling regularly can also help reduce muscle imbalance, which may restrict your movement in future workouts.
Because the roller uses your own weight to stimulate the muscles, you have control of the pressure. I recommend adding foam rolling to your rehabilitation sessions, before you start your post-workout stretches.
Get plenty of sleep
Lack of sleep has plenty of flow-on effects, so don’t underestimate the importance of getting a good 7 to 8 hours per night (when you can)! When you’re sleeping, your body is hard at work repairing itself, which includes those muscle micro-tears caused by a tough workout.
Nourish your body with good food
Without the right nourishment, your body simply may not have the right resources to recover from an intense workout. Following a well balanced, healthy eating guide helps gives your body the best opportunity to develop the strength needed to get through the day as well as your workouts. Eating some form of protein and complex carbs shortly after a workout can also provide nutrients your muscles need to kick-start their recovery.
As well as a healthy diet and regular exercise, recovery is an important component of your healthy lifestyle plan. I recommend planning your recovery in the same way you plan workouts and meals. This can help you improve your performance, as well as reducing muscle stiffness each day.
Giving your body short- and long-term recovery time is important for it to be able to adapt and grow. Without proper recovery, you may not make progress with your training. The benefits of recovery are also more than just physical. To feel good inside and out, you should be making time for recovery.
Love, Kayla xx