Better Workout Recovery Equals Better Results
Of course, exercise is great for you, but are your workouts yielding the best results?
If you’re not able to advance your training to the next level or if nagging aches and injuries are slowing you down, you may need to improve your exercise recovery routine.
As you train with weights, run, do a cycling class, play sports, etc, any strain on your body tells it that it needs to be better prepared to deal with the condition in the future. The strain triggers a repair process where muscles get stronger and your body becomes more efficient. This process of breaking down our bodies and allowing them to repair stronger is the basis of exercise.
However, it’s easy to mess up the process by not recovering from workouts properly.
Basically, the physical symptoms we might think of with over-exercise are more likely related to poor recovery including lack of sleep, proper nutrition, rest days and hydration.
Your recovery plan should be thought out in advance and be part of your total wellness strategy. Below are 4 key recovery steps that everyone should take to help maximize recovery and results from your exercise routine.
Make sure you get quality sleep each night. Running behind in sleep can hurt post-exercise recovery and workout effort.
Take steps to improve the quality of your sleep where possible. Purchasing a good mattress and pillow is a wise investment. You may also want to adjust room temperature, lighting and noises to create the ideal sleep setting. At bedtime, consider trading in your phone for a good book. It is well researched that devices with back-lit screens can stimulate your eyes and brain causing restless sleep.
2. Proper Nutrition
Personal exercise growth is as much about eating the right foods as it is with your gym routine. Make sure your calorie intake is enough to recover and that your nutrients are properly balanced. For instance, not taking in enough protein can slow down your muscle repair process, and not enough carbohydrates can lead to low performing workouts.
3. Rest Days
Working in calculated rest days is vital to any exercise training program. Reminder – more exercise is not always better, and you don’t increase strength in the gym, you gain muscle while you rest. Including at least one rest day per week can help your body adequately recover. You might need more than one day per week if your exercise intensity levels are very high. Of course, everyone is different, but a good rule of thumb is at least one rest day per week. Your body will thank you for it.
It is very important to replenish fluids lost during a workout. Shoot for at least half of a gallon of water per day, and more if you have been sweating due to intense exercise or heat.
When it’s all said and done, the most important part leading to complete recovery is listening to your body. You’ll quickly learn your body’s needs, whether an aching part needs rest, or you need more water and food, or simply a day off to refresh your mind and willpower.