Most athletes understand that recovery is important, especially those who participate in endurance sports. Competitive athletes often find it difficult to stop long enough to give their body the rest and recovery it really needs. However, the experienced athlete knows that recovery is one of the most important elements for strengthening their physical performance.
Why Recovery Is Important
Recovery is important because it gives your body the time it needs to strengthen and repair itself, which enhances performance further down the road. Instead of feeling guilty for taking a day or two off, treating recovery as a component of your endurance fitness program is the key you need to help optimize results.
While exercise is great, it is also stressful on the body. Stress from physical activity can damage tissue and drain the energy stored in muscle. During exercise, muscle tissue breaks down, fluid is lost, and the result is a depletion of muscular glycogen. Without recovery time between bursts of physical activity, muscles aren’t given the opportunity to repair. This leads to further breakdown and damage – which can ultimately lead to injury.
4 Ways to Help Your Body Recover
Hydrate: The body loses fluids when you engage in strenuous physical activity. Water is essential for all human physiological functions, so make sure you’re replenishing your body with ample amounts of fluids after physical exercise. Avoid drinks that may increase dehydration; such as coffee, caffeinated sodas, or alcohol.
Nutrition: Food is fuel for the body. The right fuel can enhance the recovery process. Don’t skimp on calories and include the proper balance of lean proteins and complex carbohydrates.
Stretch: An ounce of prevention goes a long way for post-workout recovery. Minimize the risk of injury and prepare your body for the strenuous movement ahead by stretching and warming up muscles before and after each workout.
Treat Your Muscles Right: Stressed muscles can be painful, which can cause you to move differently and risk injury. When your muscles are sore, try a topical gel that relieves pain and reduces inflammation.