Rest & Recovery.
Rest and recovery after exercise is essential to muscle and tissue repair, and strength building. Your after-exercise routine is as crucial as your workout plan and will allow you to train so much more effectively. Our muscles need anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to repair and re-build especially after a big strength training session.
I can put my hands up and say I’m one of the worst people at taking rest-days especially because going to the gym, going to classes and generally being active is my passion. But, I’ve learnt the hard way. Not taking a rest when you’re tired and achy is not the answer and, can actually be more detrimental to your training routine.
Your body is telling you it needs time to recover from all the hard work you’ve been putting in. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, I actually think it is the opposite and if I understood earlier on why taking time out to rest was so important, it might have made me take a couple steps back more often.
With all of this in mind, here are my 5 top tips that aid recovery and explain why rest is so important for your fitness regime.
MY 5 TOP TIPS.
1. Hydrate & Replace Fluids – you lose a lot of fluid during exercise and ideally, you’ll be keeping yourself hydrated throughout but re-hydrating your body after exercise is a really simple way to enhance your recovery. Drinking lots of water also aids digestion, keeps your skin, hair & nails healthy AND keeps you feeling full and satisfied for longer.
2. Rest & Recuperate – time is the best way to recover from anything – injury and/or illness. This also applies after a reeeeally hard workout.
3. Stretch it out – gentle stretching and foam rolling is one of the simplest and fastest ways you can help your muscles recover. It helps to keep your muscles limber, joints healthy and limits your risk of injury. Ever woken up the day after leg day and found yourself almost falling on to the toilet seat? (I have…) – no one wants DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). Admittedly, it can add on 10-15 minutes after each session, but if it means you can stop legs seizing up, it’s worth it surely!
4. Sleep – while you sleep, amazing things are happening inside your body. Optimal sleep is essential for anyone who exercises regularly. During sleep, your body produces growth hormones, which are essential for tissue growth and repair. I try to always get my 7 hours in and know my performance levels are so much better when I do! I’m less grouchy, irritable and my concentration is much sharper. Improving your sleep hygiene will also help you drift off with ease. (Read my post about improving your sleep-hygiene).
5. Food – is an essential element that aids and supports your training. Ensuring you have a balanced diet will help to make sure you are getting all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need to perform your best. Proteins to aid muscle growth and repair, carbohydrates refill your glycogen levels, fats help with energy and cell production and of course, fruit and veg to keep your nutrient levels up.
Do you have any tips that help aid your rest and recovery after exercise? I’d love to know how you recover! Let me know in the comments below, or feel free to get in touch. Happy resting!