Recovery is just as important for fitness as working out. It is during this time when muscle and tissue repair take place. Yet, many people do not take recovery seriously. Without understanding the importance of it after exercise, one may workout the same muscles too soon which can lead to more tissue breakdown rather than repair.
Muscle repair occurs 24 – 48 hours after a hard workout. This is why it isn’t a good idea to work the same muscles two days in a row. You need to give your body time to repair. So what are some common ways to recover after a good workout? Below are some easy methods that can be implemented to help with recovery.
Sleep – I’ve heard several times that getting enough sleep is very important in terms of building muscle. During sleep, our bodies do most of the repairing. Growth hormone is also produced which helps with tissue growth and repair.
Ice Baths – Athletes are well-known for using ice baths after a hard workout. Cryotherapy (“cold therapy”) constricts blood vessels and decreases metabolic activity, which reduces swelling and tissue breakdown. [Source: runnersworld.com]
Foam Roller – Using a foam roller can work in the same way as having a deep-tissue massage. It can help decrease muscle tension as well as releasing tissue in tight muscle areas.
Stretching – You can get several benefits from stretching after a hard workout to include increased flexibility, improved range of motion, and as a way to speed recovery by improving blood flow to your muscles.
Cooling Down – Warming-up before a workout is important and so is cooling-down afterward. After a vigorous workout, it helps to move around at a low intensity for about five to ten minutes to help remove lactic acid and reduce muscle stiffness.