In a culture that prizes being busy, people are often hesitant to include recuperation after exercise. This is especially true after a particularly vigorous competition, race, or session at the gym. Rest, however, is actually a necessary part of activity though and giving the body and mind room to recover is one of the best things you can do to ensure your longevity in any game or activity.
Your body’s muscles and connective tissue needs time to repair the small micro tears and injuries sustained during activity. Leaving a day or two between grueling sessions can also prevent overtraining.
What Does Your Body Do?
In recovery and rest mode, your body has the opportunity to repair itself through addressing damaged tissue. Areas in need are rebuilt as your muscles glycogen stores are replenished. In a rest period, your body also has time to replace vital nutrients and lost fluids.
Active recovery occurs in the immediate aftermath of a workout or competition. This quick recovery includes the cool down phase as well as any stretching for mobility or massage to work out knots or areas of tension. In the short term, your body goes to work to replace fluids, glycogen, and nutrients as needed. It also synthesizes proteins to repairs muscle damage to forge new muscle mass.
Long-term recovery involves rest periods and changes to a workout routine over the course of a season or year. Mixing up intensity and style of your activities can be considered long-term recovery. This is why so many athletes incorporate yoga, massage, or swimming into their training calendars.
Finding the right balance that works for you is what recovery is all about. You want to strive for a cadence that allows your body to develop and grow without injury. Incorporating good sleep habits, regular massage sessions, and healthy, nutritious meals are all great ways to boost recovery.