Updated: Jan 29
Hi Friends of Oompf, it's Alvan here. Today we will be talking about recovery and why it is important to your fitness journey.
Ever noticed how after you charge your electronic devices they seem to work better and faster? The same concept applies to our bodies. Our bodies are like batteries, they need to be recharged physically. You can't constantly burn energy without refuelling it. This is why rest and recovery is so important to your fitness journey.
As you workout, your body goes through fluid loss, muscle tissue breakdown, and the depletion of energy stores. Rest and recovery is then imperative so that your body can repair and replenish. Without it, just like an overused battery, you will start to notice a dip in performance and loss in energy. In the worst-case scenario, too little rest and too few recovery days can lead to overtraining syndrome.
Overtraining syndrome results from a lack of recovery time. The symptoms include a reduce in appetite and weight loss, fatigue, persistent injuries or muscle pain, decrease in performance and even insomnia.
How do you prevent this? Simple! Give your body time to rest. There are a few different ways you can do this.
Sleep is crucial to recovery. When you get sufficient sleep, your body is able to heal and repair and fundamental processes can take place. A lack of sleep can result in increased cortisol or stress levels which will lower muscle protein synthesis. It also reduces the production of growth hormone, which is released when your body enters into a deep sleep stage. This growth hormone, released by your pituitary gland, stimulates tissue growth and muscle repair.
2. Take a deload week
If you train day in and day out and start to notice a plateau or decreasing performance, it might be a sign of the body needing rest. A deload week is a training method that allows you to keep making progress without abandoning training all together. It allows your body to recover by repairing your muscles, returning hormone levels to normal, and allowing your central nervous system to rest. Incorporating a deload week into your fitness regime is simply to reduce the intensity of exercise for a week.
Water plays a significant role in the process of recovery - from helping digest vital nutrients to repairing muscles damaged during exercise. Our muscles are 75% made up of water and they need to be well hydrated for optimal protein synthesis. Fatigue is also one of the main symptoms of dehydration and needless to say if you're tired, your training sessions will not be optimised.
Stretching is one of the most important aspects in the recovery process. Stretching helps to increase blood flow to the muscles which in turn brings a greater nutrient supply to muscles, thereby reducing muscle soreness and helping to speed recovery from muscle and joint injuries. The less sore your muscles are, the less painful it will be to work those same muscles and to exercise in general. You should spend about 20-30 minutes stretching for 2-3 day a week.
Here are some simple stretches you can do at home for each body part.
Kneeling quad stretch
2. Core stretch (Cobra pose)
3. Chest & Pec stretch
4. Glute stretch
5. Lower back stretch
6. Lying hamstring stretch
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