If you are reading this article, chances are that you have just finished a heavy workout and are feeling quite sore or fatigued. You may be new to exercise (therefore, your muscles will take some time to adjust to your routine) or you might have been trying to push yourself to hit a new personal record. . Whatever the reason, that soreness and tiredness in your muscles isn’t always the most pleasant feeling, and you’re probably wondering how to get over it.
So, why is your body not recovering from exercise quickly? Is there a better way to recover after a workout? What helps muscles recover faster? Get answers to all your questions below.
Why is exercise recovery important after a workout?
Let’s first understand why recovery is important after a workout. During exercise, the weights you lift and the sprints you run put physical strain on your muscles. This tears up the muscle fibres which causes soreness after a workout. The process of recovery heals these tears and helps the muscles to grow stronger than before.
However, if you do not allow your body to recover, then get ready to experience increased fatigue, risk of injury and less endurance. Moreover, it was found that people who overtrain in order to get results fast can encounter multiple health issues such as mental burnout, decreased immunity, effects on the central nervous system and, as you may guess, chronic injuries. All of which is not worth the trade-off of skipping exercise recovery.
How long does it take for the body to recover?
It is important to understand that not all people take the same time to recover after exercise. A lot of factors, such as age, health condition and lifestyle choices, come into play when determining the time of recovery.
Studies have shown that the time it takes to recover from a workout increases with age. This is due to the fact that, as we grow older, our bodies naturally lose muscle mass, which in turn results in slower repair and rebuild, as per research.
According to studies, the ideal time for full recovery after a workout is 48-72 hours. This gives the body enough time to fully repair the muscle fibre damage. For those under the age of 50, a good ballpark figure for the time it takes for a muscle group to recover from a strenuous workout is 24-48 hours. Don’t worry if you sometimes take longer to recover, as everybody is different. However, if you are regularly finding that you recover from a workout very slowly, use the below tips to help you speed up your recovery.
Top 5 tips to enhance recovery post-workout
1. Get more sleep
A proper sleep routine can go a long way for your muscle recovery. To maintain a good sleep routine, it is important to sleep at the same time everyday. Maintaining an optimal environment for sleep – less noise, no gadget interventions and dim lights – can assist in a good quality sleep.
2. Stay hydrated
Studies have shown that adequate hydration plays an important role in exercise because there is a direct relation between water deficit and anaerobic power of the body. Hence, if your body is adequately hydrated, it can generate better performance and can recover quickly from a workout.
3. Proper diet
A proper diet is a crucial element of your recovery. Inadequate replenishment of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in post-workout recovery can lead to decreased performance, according to research. Moreover, removing addictive substances from your diet, such as alcohol and other drugs, can significantly improve your recovery.
Consuming foods which promote muscle recovery – fatty fish, eggs, dairy, whey protein and coffee, for example – can result in quicker muscle recovery. Additionally, increasing your protein intake can give your body the energy required to recover swifty.
4. Cold bath
One of the most underrated yet effective ways of recovering from a workout is an ice bath. We all know that, during exercise, the body undergoes muscle damage and inflammation. A cold bath is known to reduce inflammation after a workout and helps to effectively cool the body down. It can also reduce pain in certain parts of the body, which can be a relief if you are suffering from muscle damage.
5. Compression garments
A compression garment provides a tight and snug fit, which helps with proper blood circulation and decreased inflammation of muscles during and after a workout. These compression garments are known to reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and muscle damage, according to studies. Compression garments also provide better flexibility for post workout stretching.
If you are an athlete or someone who undertakes regular exercise, studies show that cryotherapy is a great way to recover your body. Though expensive (due to the use of specialist, cutting edge equipment), cryotherapy is effective at repairing muscle damage and inflammation that occurs as a result of heavy exercise.
Time to cool down
The importance of recovery post-workout cannot be overstated. If you are an athlete, a regular gym goer or anyone who exercises regularly, giving your body much-needed rest is imperative. Your body requires time to recover after muscle damage caused by physical strain. Multiple methods stated above can help you enhance recovery without sacrificing performance.
However, it is important to note that all bodies are different from one another, and while some methods may work better for you, it may not be the case for others. Hence, choosing suitable recovery methods for your body can do wonders in your fitness journey.