Recovery that one of the most important aspects of training, but also one of the most least appreciate. We all know that recovery repair damages muscles fibres, strengthen and rebuild muscles. It’s not only important for physically but also mentally.
Recovery can be divided into two, immediate and long-term recovery.
Immediate also known short-term recovery, start as soon as training session is over. It includes the food that is taken, fluid and rest. Immediate recovery can be also active, for example after running session light walk, might help ease the muscle and put all the lactate and chemical to move after a hard training session.
Immediate recovery also includes rest, which can start right after exercise, especially if there are two training session during the day, or the rest of the day include physical activity, little nap would be recommended.
Stretching, ice bath and massage. There are tons of little things that can be added to help the recovery process, all these depend on the training and situation. During the cold winter time, you might start to feel cold soon after you have finished training session. This usually happens because the body uses energy for muscle recovery when the surface blood circulation is not the main thing and you might feel shivering. In this case, try to keep your body warm. While in the summer in the hot time, body temperature can be the rise, warmer than normal, then ice baths are not only good for cool down put also help recovery by reducing swelling, decrease metabolic activity and constrict blood vessels and flush waste product.
Stretching immediate after the training session can ease the muscle and help the fluid circulation, the stretching should be short. Longer stretching can be taken place around a couple hours after a training session.
Massage is one of the excellent way to speed up the recovery period. Massage technique depends on the time if it’s right after the training session, it often a little bit gentler, more like a shake to help blood circulation and waste product flush. Otherwise, massage can help ease tight muscles, reduce pain and increase blood flow, relaxation and increase performance level.
Nutrition and water intake plays also an important role. Water does not only hydrate your body, but it also plays a crucial role in recovery. You may have heard that protein intake is recommended after the training session, but protein is not the only macronutrient you should consider. I recommended you to read more nutrition intake and hydration in HVMN’s article about muscles recovery which considers also other essential recovery factors. HVMN article explains the scientifically how nutrition and hydration play role and how much you should consume protein, fats and carbs. It doesn’t matter how good and hard you exercise if you screw up your nutrition.
Long term recovery is taking place during the year, for example, rest day, offseason. They are planned rest when cross training can take place. During this time body have more time to rest and recover before the next training season start. During the training season day off can include active recovery, if the intensity is low.
What will happen if you skip recovery? Not only injury risk will increase, but also, the overall energy level will decrease, muscles tightness and tiredness, performance level decrease, progress stop or even decrease.
Don’t forget the recovery or underestimate it, make part of your day and lifestyle. Don’t feel guilty to take a day off if you feel it so.