Anyone who has worked out with any consistency has inevitably felt tired, run-down, and experienced aches and pains of varying degrees. Add in the many other stressors in our lives, a poorly constructed fitness program that is deficient in recovery strategies can negatively impact our ability to see improvements and stay resilient. While a bit of soreness and fatigue post-workout is normal, you may want to adjust your program to ensure adequate recovery if it becomes chronic and lasts for days. Not every workout needs to be high intensity, and I would argue frequency is more important than intensity, especially as we get older. But what does recovery look like within the context of a workout program? It will depend on your goals and what you’re training for, like most things. Regardless, some general tips for a better recovery can include:
1. A focus on getting good quality (and quantity) sleep on a nightly basis. Without adequate sleep, the rest of the tips on this list will fall short. Restorative sleep will help decrease the overall level of stress, enhance immune function, help decrease inflammation throughout the body, and promote an optimal hormonal environment for recovery.
2. Low to moderate intensity activities several times per week (if not daily). Examples include walking, using an elliptical, spinning on a bike, jumping rope, or any activity that is not overly taxing. You should feel refreshed when you’re done. Another way is to put together a series of mobility movements or dynamic exercises performed for time (15-20 minutes). This is a great way to improve the quality of your movement and allow your body to recover from those more intense workouts.
3. A balanced nutritional plan emphasizing whole foods. In addition, be sure to drink plenty of water. Low levels of dehydration can negatively impact your ability to recover.
4. Stress management tools. These can include mindfulness and meditation practices and a variety of breathing techniques. Emotional distress can further impact how you feel and your ability to recover from the stress of training and life in general. Taking time for self-care that includes managing your stress and emotional state can be life-altering in a positive way.
Focus on the “big rocks,” offering the greatest impact when improving recovery. Keep things simple. If you need help incorporating recovery strategies into your fitness program, contact us through our social media or by email (see below) to work with one of our coaches. We would love to help you!
Wellness 360 prides itself in building a network of people with the same goals in mind....health and wellness for our patients and participants. This blog was written by Jay Verna, the Fitness Specialist at the Webster Rec Center.