Do you ever feel tired? Sore? Slightly beat up from your workouts? Keep reading.
Over the years of working with clients and working out myself I have explored the various ways to optimize performance while maintaining functionality and preventing injury. Recovery is a proactive way to do this. I believe that the better we do in this area the longer our bodies will work the way we desire them to.
Just like with nutrition there are constantly new gadgets and services coming out to help you recover and perform. You must analyze each option to make sure it is based on facts and also realistic for you to implement. The options that I will be listing here are the ones that I believe will move the needle in the right direction. Implement the ones that make sense for you.
This is gold. I believe in a good warm up before exercise. Including 10-20 minutes of stretching everyday will go a long way for your body. This applies to sedentary and active individuals. Everyone could benefit. Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. We need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
A good nights sleep is extremely important. I cannot emphasize this enough. Do not sell yourself short in this department. Your body needs a good amount of Deep Sleep and REM Sleep in order for you to recover. Sleep impacts your brain, heart, hormones, immune system, respiratory system, metabolism and more. You need at minimum 7 hours of sleep per night but as much as 9 hours could be beneficial. The research has been piling up on this in the last decade especially with wearable devices that tell you exactly how you are sleeping. I suggest buying one of these wearables and seeing where you land in this department. If you need suggestions let me know.
You are likely familiar with athletes getting into an ice bath after a grueling workout in order to recover. I remember the first time I did this a little over a decade ago and it was so cold. Well now it is common for people to get into ice baths and do cryotherapy due to the physical and mental benefits. The most common form of cold exposure would be in extremely cold temperatures for about 2-3 minutes. If you get in actual water compared to a Cryo tank the temperature will vary. The benefits can include pain relief, muscle healing, reduced inflammation and more. My suggestion before attempting this is to do your research and see if it is the right thing for you.
Soft Tissue Work/Massage
This can be in the form of chiropractic care, dry needling or body work to target areas that are sore. A good massage is nice but I am talking about a massage that is focused on recovery more than relaxation. Think targeted deep tissue. You will often times find immediate relief from this. A great tool would be a massage gun or foam roller. These are easy to access and can be used daily if needed.
These are intended to provide the body with fluids and nutrients quickly. It gets fluids directly into a vein. We think of trips to the ER or hospital when we think of IV’s because it benefits treatment by enabling water, medication, blood, or nutrients to access the body faster through the circulatory system. Now people are having this service performed at their homes or at offices that are not necessarily medically focused. This is another one that I would recommend doing your research on. Some benefits include hydration and nutrient intake which can lead to better sleep and more energy.
There are many more ways to recover but on this email I focused on the five above. In my final email of this series I will let you know exactly what I do and the frequency I do it in order to optimize recovery. I would recommend to create a proactive recovery plan for yourself. If you need help creating a plan let me know.