Science Of Exercise Recovery
Speed exercise recovery.
Everyone who has done some form of training such as weights, running, yoga and so on has at some point experienced fatigue or muscle soreness in the days after that session. Exercise recovery is therefore, an essential component to ensure future training can be performed at a high level. If recovery methods are incorrect, this can have more long-term effect on aspects of our life. Repeated training without enough recovery can lead to persistent muscle soreness and fatigue, increased risk of infection and injury and mood states such as irritability and depression. This article is going to outlay effective recovery strategies to ensure this overtraining effect does not occur.
Exercise Recovery Methods
The overall purpose of recovery is for the body to return to its normal/stronger state.
The largest recovery method is rest, allow 48 hours between sessions to recover efficiently.
There are however, a number of other recovery methods that you can use in conjunction with rest.
When we train, we use carbohydrates, protein and fats as an energy source. This makes consuming these nutrients very important in our recovery. Predominantly, we will use carbohydrates as a fuel source therefore, consuming carbohydrate-based food is essential to ensure we maintain energy levels. Picture your carbohydrate intake in your body as a fuel tank. If you have a full tank of fuel, then, go for a drive (training session), you are left with 3/4 of a tank. If you don’t refuel, the next time I go for a drive (training session) you will have half a tank. If this process repeats, then, eventually, you will have an empty fuel tank. Additionally, when you train, you cause microtears in your muscles. These cause a temporary weakness in that muscle. Protein’s role is to rebuild that muscle and build it stronger than it was in its previous state. Therefore, protein within the diet that contains both essential and non-essential amino acids is required. Consuming a protein and carbohydrate-based meal 0-2 hours post training will replenish energy, enhance protein production and muscle repair and improve mood state.
Foam Rolling/ Massage
Training can lead to a feeling of pain within the muscle and overall weakness. Massages have been shown to reduce the feelings of pain within the muscle. This can also lower our perceived fatigue. However, as you would not get a massage after every training session you did, there is an alternative, the foam roller. Foam rollers can be used to massage muscles to obtain the same results as an actual massage. Foam rolling technique requires you to target specific tender spots within the muscle and focus on massaging those areas. We recommend rolling for around 30-60seconds per muscle for approximately 2-3 sets. This should be done 0-2 hours post training for the best effect.
Sleep is one of the most essential parts of recovery. When we sleep, our body begins to repair muscle damage, maintain hormone balance and help our mental health. Sleeping for more than 8 hours a day can significantly reduce your injury risk, due to the above-mentioned effects. To help you have a well and uninterrupted sleep there are certain factors you can control.
- Consistent sleep/wake up time
- No caffeine/food before bed
- Avoid electronics prior to sleeping
- Ensure your room is quiet
- Maintain a constant room temperature (approx. 18 Degrees Celsius)
- Ensure no light enters the room
- Power naps are another method to refresh physical and cognitive performance. Napping for approximately 20 minutes is all it takes.
Implementing the above-mentioned strategies will help aid in your exercise recovery. Remember to eat a carbohydrate and protein based meal and foam roll 0-2 hours post workout. Then, ensure that you have a long enough sleep following the approaches mentioned regarding your sleeping environment.