Muscle recovery could be one of the most important things you can do for longevity to working out. Most gym goers do not consider muscle recovery, and either use the soreness as an excuse not to go as often as they should, or over time their body begins to breakdown causing them semi to permanent damage to their body.
Here are 5 tips for those on a budget to help improve their muscle recovery.
Stretch before and after your workouts. As I’ve talked about in a previous blog post, stretching isn’t as time consuming as you may think it is. Unless you are an athlete performing at the highest peak level, stretching five to ten minutes a day is all you need. And everyone has time for that.
Drink Lots of Water
When you are dehydrated, that means your muscles don’t have enough water to properly function, this causes cramping of the muscles. So, if your muscle cannot function properly they cannot recover properly, since they are in survival mode, not recovery mode.
Also, another added benefit of drinking lots of water, is it helps remove toxins from the body.
Don’t underestimate the power of sleep. Sleeping is one of the best things you can do for a healthy active lifestyle. While there are guidelines on how much sleep is optimal, I think it is more important to listen to your body and your body’s needs. No two bodies are the same. While you can never “make up” sleep but trying to get the optimal amount of sleep your body needs every night is key.
While I enjoy cryotherapy, it can be pricey. On the other hand, taking an ice bath will just cost you water and ice. Spending two minutes in an ice bath after an intense workout can help you recover faster by reducing inflammation. Ice packs don’t do this. Ice packs focus on one area, while an ice bath slows the blood flow throughout the body reducing inflammation (inflammation is one of the reasons why you are sore).
While I don’t think most of us we will ever truly over train, but I do feel that you do need to make sure your body has time to recovery before hitting a muscle or muscle group again. Continuing to break down a muscle that is already severely broken down, will not help promote muscle growth. Listen to your body, and react accordingly.