Hi again! Today we take a look at what we could do to speed-up our recovery after a full workout session. We must remember that though workouts make us more fit, it is the recovery phase that follows that makes us stronger. Here’s what you can do facilitate recovery:
1. Cool Down: Cooling down is essential. I have extolled the benefits of cool down in my post last month. Abruptly stopping a workout session could lead us into the Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS) due to lactic acid build-up. Stopping abruptly also causes our increased heart rate, temperature and blood pressure to drop suddenly and this is dangerous. So, taper off your session by doing the same activity you had as the main workout but at slow speed and at lower intensity levels.
2. Stretch: Stretching too as I have spoken in my earlier posts, helps recovery of worked out muscles. Stretches could be active or static during recovery phase.
3. Nap/Rest/Meditate: If you exercise in the mornings, a 20-minute power nap in the afternoon will give a maximum recharge benefit to you. Alternatively, if you head for the office post exercise, you can meditate for 10 minutes at your desk midday. Just being aware of your breathing and practicing controlled breathing for 10 minutes will help towards stepping up your alertness levels. If you are unable to do either, just being sedate or resting for 20 minutes tucked anywhere in the day will also prove beneficial.
4. Eat Right: This is probably one of the most talked about factors along with replenishing fluids. This is especially of significance of endurance athletes. They need to develop a program for each of the factors mentioned in this post and more so for what they eat and when they eat them and in what ratios. Fructose, L-Glutamine, Creatine all take on more significant roles than the commonly touted carbohydrate to protein in ratio 2.5:1 post workouts for the on-endurance athlete. Non-endurance exerciser will do good if they cover all major food groups and eat within 2 hours of a session starting with complex carbs and proteins. Minerals and vitamin foods can be added along the way as the day rolls.
5. Drink Plenty of Water: Though drinking plenty of water 2 hours before a workout is advisable, filling up post workout also speeds up recovery. Not only are the lost body fluids replaced but also undesirable by-products of the energy creation processes are flushed out of the system quickly. Water will also help restore normal body temperature faster and enable optimum levels at which the body functions.
6. Shower with Warm Water and then with Cold: You can start with a warm shower (10 minutes) to relax the worked out large muscle groups. The warm water dilates blood vessels to rush oxygen-rich blood into these muscle groups and enables healing. You can then turn on the cold water and shower for another 5 minutes. This constricts the blood vessels and the alternating process helps the blood vessels and eventually the muscles and tissues to flush out toxins and wastes faster.
7. Massage: Massages help us to relax and also promote better circulation in the worked out muscles such that healing is enabled.
Until the next week, train hard and recover fast!