So how do we recover following exercise? this important but often overlooked element of exercise is discussed here by our very own Charliiy Berry. There area number of different but all vital elements for successful recovery – so lets dig in..
1. Cool down- this should be a gentle pace! By doing this you allow your body to return to its resting lactate levels. Not only this but it’s also good for calming your mind readying for recovery, especially after a hard high intensity session.
2. Fuel - This isn’t just important after exercise but also before, during and after. In the midst of a pandemic is not a great time to be in a deficit. Our bodies need fuel to help our immune systems.
Lets talk protein, most of us aren’t getting enough. The amount of protein your body requires in a day will depend upon what you do and your goals. Studies recommend that we should be consuming around 20-30g of protein within 30 minutes post exercise.
3. Rehydrate - Taking on water and electrolyte balance is an essential part of the recovery process during and after exercise, especially that has resulted in sweat loss. So even more important at the moment as the sun has finally come out!
Water plays a significant role in recovery it helps digest vital nutrients. If you are dehydrated your recovery will be delayed as it slows the protein synthesis which aids the rebuilding of muscles.
Stretching and mobility work
Many people confused flexibility and mobility.
Flexibility is the ability of your joints to move through pain free range of motion without stiffness. Mobility is similar but slightly different the way that it is your ability to be able to control that movement through range of motion.
Mobility is essential, it prepares our bodies for the stress of exercise. Stretching has been shown to prevent injury, decrease soreness, and improve performance.
Static Vs Dynamic
Static stretching is when you hold a position whereas dynamic is where you move through a movement while stretching. When being used as part of a warm up static stretches have been found to have a negative affect on performance- as they have been shown to decrease muscle force production.
Static stretches should be held for 30+ seconds to be beneficial.
Active recovery - The goal here is to increase your circulation which helps your body repair your muscles. Around an hour is all you need. Ideas for active recovery can include a walk, easy spin, slow laps in a pool or yoga. Be careful, many people go harder than they should, this time is for repair!
Massage- Massage flushes your muscles, this increases the transportation of waste products from the muscle and new nutrient rich blood to help repair and rebuild. Massage also helps break down adhesion's which sometimes you may hear get called ‘knots’. Some ideas for home massage while on lock-down could include- foam rolling, tennis ball, self massage or getting someone else in the same household to help you out.
Breathing exercises and relaxation- At present due to a many reasons a lot of us are all stressed which impacts our immune system. It is good practice whether you are wanting to aid recovery or not to complete relaxation regularly. This will look different for everyone.
A popular one is breathing exercise and body scanning-
Start with a long, slow breath in through your nose, first filling the lower portion of your lungs- aim to expand your stomach and bottom of rib cage, then your upper lungs- this is when you should feel the top of your chest move.
Try and pause here for a count of "three."
Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while you scan down your body and relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach, buttocks, legs and feet.