Whether you workout once in a blue moon or every day, it is hugely important that you give you body a chance to recover from exercise. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to sit and do nothing while your pains and soreness diminish. Rather, there are many things that you can do to help speed up your recovery. By following these tips, you will be able to work out more often and see greater results as well.
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to get plenty of sleep. Sleep is absolutely vital to our survival. It helps our body to recharge its batteries and provide us with energy, and it makes us more mentally alert. It is also hugely important in terms of muscle recovery, particularly after a strenuous workout.
Research suggests that during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep that the body is able to: restore organs, bones, and tissue; replenish immune cells; and circulate human growth hormone. Sleep has a profound effect on muscle growth and physical well being.
Indeed, without sufficient sleep, the work you do at the gym or during an exercise program could actually be in vain. At the same time, however, it is important to not sleep too much. This is because oversleeping could cause your internal clock to become confused, meaning that it is harder to sleep when you need to as well.
A second absolutely vital element of recovering from muscle soreness and tiredness is protein.
Heavy resistance training increases the rates of both protein synthesis and muscle breakdown for at least a 24-hour period afterwards and is one of the reasons why you might feel sore the next day. Now whilst this may sound bad, it’s actually the first part of developing stronger muscles. However, if a protein-rich meal is not consumed during the recovery period, muscle breakdown will exceed synthesis, resulting in the loss of muscle mass.
This also means that simply consuming a small protein shake before a workout is not enough. Rather, you should calculate how much protein your body needs in order to achieve and sustain your workout goals and stick to consuming that particular amount. Experts also recommend that you eat a snack that is high in protein before going to bed. Conventional wisdom suggests that eating just before bed is a bad thing, because your metabolism slows down significantly. While this is true, you can combat this by making sure that your protein snack does not contain any poor quality ingredients such as processed sugars. In doing so, your metabolism is able to slowly and calmly lead to muscle recovery.
The day after you have done a workout, you are likely to experience significant muscle soreness. Depending on how strong your muscles are, the second day may actually be even more painful. In many cases, this actually stops people from working out enough, because they are in too much pain to go back to the gym and do more. One thing that can help reduce this is tart cherry juice.
Another natural antidote that might spur the body’s recovery after brutally intense workouts is tart cherry juice, which research has found to reduce symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage.
On its own, however, tart cherry juice is not overly nice. Hence, try to mix it with a few other fruits that are beneficial to overall health, such as strawberries and apples. This makes for an enjoyable and refreshing drink that can help your muscles recover much more quickly. Experts recommend having at least one cup of this drink on the day of the workout itself and on any day where you feel your muscles are sore.
For most people, taking a day off working out is not too much of a problem. Although uncomfortable, recovering can also be an enjoyable process as it may involve frequent naps, lots of relaxation and perhaps even a massage. However, for other people, taking this time off is simply not an option. Professional athletes, for instance, always have to keep on going. Or, if you have certain goals in terms of toning or bulking up, you also cannot afford not to workout for more than a day. Luckily, research suggests that wearing compression garments on the muscles and joints that ache can be beneficial. It is not entirely clear yet why this is the case, although preliminary tests suggest that it could be linked to the warmth that is created by wearing the garment. Additionally, wearing a compression garment means that you don’t exert the muscle in question as much as you normally would, which is also beneficial.
Perhaps the most uncomfortable of all the methods, unless you have taken up residence in the Mohave desert, is to take a cold bath, or actually an ice bath. The jury is still out on whether or not it is actually a beneficial technique, but most professional athletes, including Olympic ones, will use it. The theory is that, after spending around 5 minutes in an icy cold bath, the body will increase circulation to warm back up, and this helps with muscle recovery. Other athletes, however, feel that if there are any benefits to this, it is only minimal and not worth the discomfort of taking the plunge.
Fortunately, it is actually possible to do this in a highly comfortable way, which is by using a high quality sauna. Spending time first in the steam room, allowing the body to purify its cells of any toxins, and then jumping in an ice bath, only to then go into a dry heat room to recover is a great way to get clean and healthy at the same time, while also potentially helping muscle tissue to recover. Saunas have many different health benefits, including helping muscles to relax, which can be vital to speedier recovery. After a period of time in a hot sauna, an ice bath may be a shock to the system, but generally a very welcome one.
Remember to share this article with all the people that you love so that they can have a speedy recovery and get back to training.
Together, we can make this world a happier, healthier world!