5 Ways to Speed Up Your Recovery
By Albert Tan
Recovery generally by definition means the return to the normal state or condition. After a hard session of workout or training, the body would undergo a process of muscle cell damage, inflammation and production of certain waste product by the body such as carbon dioxide, lactate acid, free radical and so on.
Why recovery is important
Proper recovery helps to reduce the risk of overtraining and injury, reduces fatigue, improves quality of training and enables you to perform better especially in multi-session training. It allows your body to return to the normal condition as soon as possible and allows you to perform at or better than the previous session.
Type of Recovery Strategies
There are many combinations to an effective recovery. You do not have to apply each and every strategy mentioned below. You may need to give consideration to accessibility to certain facilities or gadget.
Sleep is the most crucial and basic part of recovery. Many people think that taking the proper nutrition after a heavy training would be sufficient for body recovery. Well, that’s just partially true. The body needs to rest, by that, it should be in a state where only minimum movement should take place.
The body will undergo the process of muscle repairing and cell regeneration when you sleep through production and regulation of certain hormones such as the growth hormones and testosterone hormones. Therefore, it is preferable that you take some nap after your morning session training before going to work. Trying to consume a cup of coffee in thinking that it can make you be alert the whole day does not equal to proper recovery to the body.
For those who train in the evening and night time, having minimum 6 hours of sleep throughout the night is sufficient for recovery. Getting less than 6 hours of sleep might affect your focus at work the following day.
Nutrition plays the major role in recovery in terms of providing and replenishing energy. Eating the right choice of food will enhance the absorption of nutrients and channeling them to the muscle cells. It is crucial to know the type of food to eat after training and the main types would be carbohydrate and protein followed by minerals and vitamins.
There are few types of Carbohydrate but I will try to make it simple and categorise them into simple carbohydrate and complex carbohydrate. Simple carbohydrate also commonly known as the high glycemic index (GI) food which is very easily absorbed into the body like jelly, chocolate bar, energy gel, and other processed food while complex carbohydrate is known to be low GI food where it takes time to breakdown and digest before been absorbed into the body such as brown rice, pasta, spaghetti and wheat bread.
After a hard-session of workout or training, it is advisable to take some high GI food for faster energy replenishment within the first two hours followed by low GI food thereafter. The intake of protein will help in muscle repair as well. Other additional nutrients would be vitamin C and E for antioxidant benefits. Do refer to the article “What to Eat?” for recommended intake of food before, during and after training.
Sports massage has been very popular in almost every sport and has proven to aid in speeding up recovery and enhancing performance. Sports massage also known as deep tissue massage, is able to relieve muscle tightness and soreness after a long hard training.
For those who are not comfortable with deep tissue massage, a normal massage would do just fine. The price would range from RM35 for 30 minutes leg massage to RM120 for a 1-hour full body massage. You can go for massage once a week during the weekends when you are off for training.
Previously in the article “The Starter Kits for Running”, I mentioned about compression garment, which is a type of tight fitting clothing that can consist of either a shirt, arm sleeves, socks, shin splints or pants that are able to assist in recovery. There are a few brands of compression garment available in the market with the popular one being 2XU and Skins.
These garments can be costly and you do not need to have all the types of garments. You can choose a pair of compression sleeves for shin splints or long tights, that is good enough. The price may range from RM90 for the sleeves to RM700 for the longer tights. Though it is not a compulsory thing but it is a nice-to-have recovery tool.
Cold bath or water immersion
Cold therapy has always been used to treat muscle inflammation or bruises. There would always be muscle cell damage and inflammation after a hard training session. Immersing your legs into cold water with temperature ranging from 10 to 15 degree Celsius for one minute for three to five sets would reduce muscle inflammation and allow faster repair of muscle tissues to take place.
You only need to do the cold water immersion during high intense training by pouring ice into the bath tub and add water to it or just do cold water shower on the legs.
Any combination on the above may it be going to sleep with your compression tights after the cold bath and taking your nutrition supplement or just any two or three recovery strategies would help to speed up your recovery.
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