It is no secret that I am somewhat addicted to exercise. The more intense the activity, the better I feel. Even when I’m feeling fatigued and have 5 more hill sprints ahead of me, I picture myself as my very own Nike ad. Just do it. I guess advertising does work. But lately my muscles have been aching so much that I have had trouble sleeping. As time goes on (read as I get older) I’ve started listening my body and have been realizing that recovery is just as important as the exercise itself. Here are some tips on muscle recovery:
- PROTEIN After an intense workout it is recommended that you consume 20-25 grams of protein within 20 min – 1 hour because the muscle tissue synthesizes the protein more efficiently at this time, which is key for exercise recovery.
TIP: Mix 15 grams of a lean protein for a low calorie snack.
- STRETCHING Active stretching is very important for recovery. In order to get more blood flow to the healing muscle tissue it is recommended to do active stretching daily, foam rolling is good as well.
CHEAT SHEET: Try this for post strenuous activity.
- COLD THERAPY Use ice and compression when your muscles or joints are swollen or inflamed. Ice will reduce the blood flow which will reduce the swelling and pain. Apply a cold compress for 20 minutes at a time for 4 – 6 hours.
- HEAT THERAPY Use heat when your are experiencing chronic muscle soreness. Apply a heating pad or soak in a hot bath. Heat will help those tight and sore muscles relax.
- REST Rest is probably one of the most important part of recovery. Your body heals and regenerates itself most when you are sleeping. It is recommended that you get 8 hours of sleep each night for proper recovery.
And everybody’s favorite…
- MASSAGE Massage after strenuous exercise has been proven to be as effective as pain relieving drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. It aids in reducing inflammatory muscles which in turn reduces pain. Plus, it’s way more enjoyable than swallowing a couple advil.