Including muscle recovery in your wellness routine is a must! Without dedicated muscle recovery, your body is going to be unnecessarily fatigued and stressed and your risk of injury will increase. The human body needs time to adapt to changes in muscle use.
Why Is Recovery Important
Exercise is a huge and necessary stress for the human body. Exercise and recovery, when combined appropriately, strengthen the body. One without the other is not ideal. Exercise also lengthens lifespan and healthspan. For your body to adapt to the stress of exercising, your muscles need to repair themselves. If you do not build in recovery stretches and rest days your body is going to get more and more exhausted which will eventually lead to injury. Another consequence of poor recovery is a lack of gains in muscle strength, hypertrophy or power.
During exercise, you are systematically using muscle and inducing signals at the genetic level that cause certain proteins to be formed. Recovery periods allow your muscles to heal and gradually strengthen to the stresses put upon them during exercise. The protein formation and the adaptation of the muscle group starts after exercise and will continue for a few days actually. Muscle protein synthesis is elevated by about 50% at 4 hours after a resistance training session. It goes on to double at 24 hours and then gradually returns to normal. Without recovery, your body is extremely unlikely to progress to longer and harder exercise routines. You may even have to set back from the difficulty level you were already at.
If there is any micro-tearing of the muscle or fascia elements too, these must have time to repair.
A muscle massage will assist your muscles in increasing blood oxygen and blood flow as well as assist the body in moving built-up lactic acid out of the muscles to prevent sore muscles. Massage can also help your body move nutrients into the muscles to assist with recovery.
Ice baths cause the blood vessels to constrict and push blood away from the muscles. After leaving the ice bath your blood vessels open back up and push more oxygen into your muscles for a speedier recovery.
Ice baths stress the system and induce restful relaxation a number of hours after that stress.
Any stress like extremely cold water also induces adaptations at the genetic level that prolong life and also will improve the function of muscle. These are also great for reducing overall inflammation. However, if you are trying to grow more muscle or cause hypertrophy, reserve the ice bath for a number of hours after a workout.
Hydration and Nourishment
During recovery, the body needs to be replenished with all the water and nutrients lost during an exercise routine.
Drinking water or a sports drink along with a nice healthy and hearty meal will give your body an excellent starting point to heal your muscles.
A rule of thumb for hydration during exercise is called the ‘Galpin Equation’. Your body weight divided by 30 is how many ounces one should drink every 15 minutes during exercise (that causes sweat). So, if you weigh 150 lbs: 150/30 = 5. So you need to drink 5 ounces every 15 minutes. Generally, this should be water with electrolytes included. Many will either pre-hydrate or drink after the activity as it is too difficult to drink this much on an ongoing basis.
By rest this time we are talking about sleep!
Sleep is essential in resting your body from all the stresses it went through during the day.
Most repair mechanisms occur at night during sleep.
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