What steps do we take to regenerate from the demands we place on ourselves physically and mentally? This sounds like a common sense practice, but do we actually take the proper steps to recover?
I will be the first to admit that I fall short in facilitating proper recovery for my sore muscles, cells, and brain. I have made the two biggest mistakes in this process. First, Attempting to give myself an equally brutal workout at the same intensity and load level. Second, Doing nothing! I know it is hard to believe that sitting in bed after a hard workout or event isn't all that beneficial. Have you ever ran a hard 10k, then laid on the couch for an extended period of time afterwards to be stiff and sore when you get up?
Instead try active rest. This is when you are out playing golf, softball, light yoga or walking the dog. This gets us out of the gym away from our "HARD CORE" workouts to refresh mentally and have fun. At the same time, we are increasing circulation pumping blood and nutrients to working muscles that will aid in the recovery process. Active rest should provide enough movement to activate the nervous system and elongate muscle without placing stress on the body.
Passive recovery is also important to help aid in the recovery process. I like to implement Epsom's salt baths and massage in my training. Another GREAT treatment is the "TOUGH GUY" ice bath or cold plunge. Next time you are in the shower post workout try changing the water temperatures from hot to cold every couple of minutes. GOOD TIMES!
Don't forget the importance of stretching pre and post workout. Everyone has their preference on techniques and when to use them. You can find research to back any argument.
I prefer dynamic stretches for pre workout. This preps the body for activity with movement while stretching. I like to use old school static stretches and band (active isolated stretching) or rope stretches for post workouts. I get the best results to foam roll at the end of the day before bed. By then, I can really target problem areas and I tend to feel better in the morning.
GOOD LUCK and remember this is a process. Try a variety of techniques to find out what works for you! Trainer Todd