Oh, we hear these words so often in the fitness world… music to my ears! I’ve written a similar blog post in the past, but it was more specifically about my own recovery time within training… so this time I’m discussing the methods of rest and recovery for the general population. This refers mostly to those who train regularly or take part in sports throughout the week, but it might also concern those of you who work in manual jobs and are on your feet all day!
There are macro and micro strategies that can help us to recover between sessions; the macro-strategies being fairly obvious, but how often, or how well, do we actually do them? The micro-strategies have shown to be effective to some extent, although lots of research is still being done to see just how effective they can be – essentially to decide how often we should do them, as some methods can be fairly expensive or time consuming, and therefore not always practical for everyone. I’ll touch briefly on these micro-strategies, but we’ll focus mainly on the 3 macro-strategies.
Firstly; sleep, nutrition and rest are the three main categories when talking about macro-strategies of recovery. It is suggested that we should aim for 8 hours of sleep per night, but it has to be quality sleep. If you’re constantly waking up throughout the night, you may actually need a little longer. Most jobs, daily tasks and sports require high levels of concentration, so a lack of sleep can greatly alter the function of the brain to carry out these tasks.
Additionally a varied diet can aid recovery; protein builds muscle and can be used as an energy source; carbohydrates refuel your energy sources for both everyday movements and functionality as well as during exercise sessions; fats (particularly essential fats such as omega-3 and omega-6) help the body to maintain joint function for example, since the body can’t produce these essential fats by itself; a variety of vitamins and minerals provide us with many benefits such as better transportation of oxygen to the muscles, or the efficiency of the brain to send signals to muscles during movements; not forgetting that good hydration is key throughout the day to recover electrolytes lost in sweat and regulate metabolism.