Workout recovery is often overlooked as being an essential part of our exercise plan. With our busy schedules finding time for intense exercise is hard enough, and often, neglecting recovery can lead to soreness, stiff muscles and even injury. If you want to make serious gains in your strength, speed and power, do neglect the importance of muscle recovery. I was recently talking to a friend who was complaining of calve soreness after a long run.
First lets take a quick look at what is happening during intense exercise. The soreness that you feel 8 to 24 hours after an intense workout is caused by tearing of the muscle fibers. This is normal and with proper rest and nutrition will cause the muscles to grow to accommodate the new workload, which equates to an increase in muscle speed and strength. The fastest way to get muscles to heal is to provide a supply of protein to repair the damaged tissue. The protein building blocks, called amino acids, help muscles heal faster. Many studies show that protein loading immediately after exercise helps cyclists recover faster so they can ride harder for several days after an intense workout. A recovery drink with protein will help repair dammed muscles faster and works best if taken within 30 minutes of an intense workout.
Challenging muscles again too soon after workouts will lead to tissue breakdown instead of rebuilding. Muscles need at 24-48 hours to repair themselves properly.
Here are some tips to aid in Muscle Recovery
1. Post workout nutrition or protein drink - this will provide the fuel to aid in muscle repairing faster.
2. Rest - The body has amazing capacity to repair itself if given proper time to rest. Getting the proper amount of sleep will help speed up your bodies recovery process.
3. Massage - Improves circulation which can speed up workout recovery. There are great of myofascial release using a foam roller. The foam roller is a great tool for increasing blood flow and circulation in soft tissues, as it stretches muscle tissue and tendons. Another advantage of foam rolling is that it is less costly than a massage and can provide the same service.
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4. Compression gear has been the new trend in aiding the recovery process. But alone will not help the recovery process with proper rest and nutrition.
Always remember a proper warm up and cool down along with regular stretching should also be practiced to decrease muscle soreness and aid in the muscle rebuilding process. Having a post workout plan or routine can help you feel better and can increase overall sports and fitness performance. A good recovery plan will allow you to train harder and more often. It will allow you to get stronger and be more competitive!
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