September 11, 2012

Embrace Recovery for a Stronger You!

Hello Everyone!

I am at the local library today.  Not only did my car break down, but my computer cord isn't working (at least, I hope its just the cord!).  What a great reason to head to the library for some research :)
No pictures today, but I wanted to talk about proper recovery.  Sometimes it is important to listen to your body and slow down when necessary, especially if you are highly active, have little time between workouts/exercise modes, and if you are new to fitness and feel the effect of delayed soreness.  When you exercise, your body breaks down proteins necessary to repair the muscles you used during your workout.  Especially if you use eccentric movements, that is, movements where you are lowering your body or weight (pushups, squats, and the downward motion of most exercises), you will feel DOMS kick in.  DOMS stands for delayed onset [of] muscle soreness.  When you try a new exercise, or maybe if you worked REALLY hard, you will feel the effect of DOMS.  There are a few things you can do to help facilitate healthy recovery:

1.  Mild stretching after exercise.  Studies are unsure as to the role stretching plays in the recovery process, but it can't hurt to increase your range of motion and cool down after your workout. 

2.  Cool down and warm up!  Sometimes you can be sore because you didn't warm up properly.  I tell each of my clients to warm up on something 'easy', like an elliptical, or start off slow to let your body pump more blood, get your joints loose, and feel your heart ready climb STEADILY.  That way, you will be primed for a great and intense workout.  Same thing goes for afterward.  Hope on that same elliptical, jog slowly, or walk to let your heart rate drop, clearing away any acidic byproduct of lactic acid. 

3.  Ice baths, ibuprofen, and refuel.  These are in the same category...maybe you need an extra boost in your recovery.  Especially if you KNOW you did something hard, like a race or a new and intense form of exercise.  You NEED to refuel.  I could spend a whole post (and maybe I will) on how refueling your body with the proper nutrients is vital.  Ibuprofen can help with the feeling of soreness and reduce inflammation caused by the workout.  Ice baths are sworn to help by many elite athletes, especially the endurance group. 

4.  Drink plenty of water and sleep!  Water is vital and not limited to how your body brings nutrients via the bloodstream.  There are so many functions in the body that rely on water.  So if you don't like or can't find ways to drink enough, chug!  Or brew some herbal tea.  Just please drink enough to rehydrate that water-depleted body.  Sleeping is essential and it is for a REASON.  There are so many things that take place in sleep for your body to repaire itself.  Let it rest and get the full amount of sleep!

5.  Take supplements.  I am not a huge fan of being dependent on supplements, but there are two things I swear by: vitamins and BCAA's.  Vitamins are important because you would need to eat a TON of leafy greens to get everything you need to function.  Maybe you are tired and sluggish because you don't have enough vegetables and essential vitamins and minerals through your diet.  Get them through some high quality multi's.  Apex and GNC are the best, highest absorbing multi's on the market.  BCAA's are great and that would take another post, so read this to hold you over til then.  It is a great article on why they are important and how it facilitates your health. 

What a wordy post!  Hopefully these things help you in your active lifestyles and journey through fitness.  Any questions?  Comment below!  We need to get this comment thing going ;)  Comments help facilitate more thoughts on this topic so ask away!  Have an amazing Tuesday!

(P.S., that salad in a jar I made yesterday was an AMAZING combination-delish!  Check it out!)

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