Fit Thursdays: How To Recover Quickly From Your Workouts
By Elaine Delaney, Personal Trainer
Running a marathon, a high intensity workout or even strenuous household chores can require using muscles you never knew existed. You may not feel the effects immediately post workout but within 24-48 hours you may begin to feel some pain. This is called delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), this discomfort is enough to make you think twice before going back to the gym, engaging in everyday activities and even getting out of bed the next morning can be challenging. This delay in muscle soreness occurs when the muscle fibres are slightly ripped during exercise. As the body adapts to strenuous activity the level of muscle soreness experienced decreases.
Whether you are training for a marathon or a beginner to exercise, recovery plays an essential role in your performance. Below are some suggestions to consider to improve your recovery time.
During weight training the circulation of hormones increases, the body naturally produces a catabolic hormone to assist in the breakdown of glycogen and fat for energy. Hormone levels remain high after a resistance workout and continue to break down muscle tissue, for this reason post exercise nutrition is essential. Many athletes often overlook is the importance of carbohydrate intake for building and repairing muscle. Carbohydrate can decrease muscle protein breakdown by stimulating insulin release. Glycogen is the main fuel source required by the muscles during exercise. Post exercise a small carbohydrate and protein rich meal is recommended as the breakdown of glycogen in the muscles is still occurring. The energy consumed will help muscle recover and provide fuel for the next workout.
Have you ever worn a white t-shirt on a hot day or even to the gym? Have you noticed the discoloration due to sweat? When we perspire we don’t just lose water but also salts/sodium. It is recommended consuming 150-200% of the fluids lost after a workout as dehydration can have a negative effect on subsequent training sessions. Coconut water is a natural way to replenish lost electrolytes during exercise.
Low intensity/slow paced movement after exercise improves circulation which helps promote nutrient and waste product transport throughout the body. Active recovery can occur between sets, as a cool down or the next day after a high intensity session. Active recovery stimulates blood flow and the excretion of by products manufactured during exercise.
As your body adapts to exercise, the rate of lactic acid removal from your muscles improves. Simply raise your legs against a wall whilst you lie down or place a pillow under your feet whilst sleeping. This will promote the clearance of lactic acid.
Research has shown, the use of cold/ice water baths were much more effective in relieving sore muscles one to four days after exercise. Studies were conducted with athletes of various sporting backgrounds including resistance training, cycling or running. The use of ice baths restricts blood flow to the muscles and delay/ decrease muscle soreness.
Sleep can often be overlooked as an essential part of recovery. Numerous research studies have analysed the correlation of growth hormone release during various stages of sleep. Those who sleep less, tend to notice a decline in overall growth hormone release. Growth hormone is an essential element of muscle building. Sleep deprivation can also lead to increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and decreased glycogen synthesis (energy source) in the muscle.
Reduction of alcohol intake
It is not recommended to drink alcohol post workout as alcohol dehydrates the body. To replenish fluids lost during exercise grab some water before you grab a beer.
Foam rolling and massage helps to promote circulation and induce a state of relaxation in the muscles reducing pain, aches and soreness. It’s also beneficial for the mind.
Research has shown that drinking tart cherry juice can reduce inflammation and swelling in the body. Cherry juice can be found in most health food stores.
So remember as the summer months approach proper hydration is imperative in addition to adequate nutrition and good quality sleep to help you improve your recovery time and reach your fitness goals faster.
Hi all, my name is Elaine Delaney co-founder of Euphoria Fitness Sydney.
I hold qualifications in health promotion, physiology and fitness. Since a young age, sports and fitness have been my passion and now I want to utilise this knowledge and experience to help other achieve their health and fitness goals.
My philosophy is life is small changes in your lifestyle can have a massive impact on your health. The key to achieving optimal health is good nutrition and exercise. In modern day society your fitness regime requires flexibility and commitment.
Euphoria Fitness provides specialised one to one or group personal training, for more information on the service provided simply use the contact details below.
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