Post-Workout Muscle Recovery
Many people warn about the dangers of overtraining. I believe that there is no such thing as overtraining, just under-recovering. Everyone knows that you have to put in hard effort at the gym, but the muscle recovery phase is where your body actually gets stronger. Here are some suggestions to help your muscles recover so you can keep working out hard.
Get plenty of sleep. You usually hear that people need 8 hours of sleep a night. That may or may not be enough for you. A better way to judge is to sleep until you wake up on your own, without an alarm. Unfortunately that isn’t realistic for most people.
Take a nap. Try to find a quiet place to nap for at about 20 minutes. This shouldn’t be used as a replacement for not sleeping at night. Naps have been shown to increase alertness and performance. Try to find a dark, warm place where you won’t be disturbed. If you need to, get a blanket and an eye mask.
Meditate. Meditation has many benefits similar to napping. It helps alleviate stress and cam the mind. Some studies have also shown that meditation also lowers lactate production after exercise.
Take a shower. Actually take a hot shower (or bath) for 3 to 4 minutes and then a cold shower (or bath) for a minute. The hot water encourages blood vessels to expand and the cold makes them contract. Three to five sets of this speeds up your blood flow.
Fuel your recovery. Make sure that you are eating enough and that you are eating healthy food. If your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs then it cannot recover. Ideally you will eat right after your workout.
Get a massage. A good sports massage on a regular basis is important. You should do it as often as possible. For a high level athlete, everyday. Realistically, most of us should try to go every month. In between massage sessions you should massage yourself with a foam roller.
Recovery is just as important as exercise. These are simple things that will really improve your performance and health, and keep you training.