We all know how it goes… we show up, do a warm-up, hit some lifts and move some weights, have a few laughs, sweat through conditioning as we get our heart-rate up, and finish the workout. Well, then what? We need to recover somehow! Some of us may go get a protein shake or smoothie, some of us may go home and eat a well-balanced meal. But that’s not what I’m talking about in this article. When I refer to “active” recovery, I’m talking about things we can do to recover from our workouts in a healthy manner, but also stimulate or “train” other parts of our body.
There are many ways that you can enhance your recovery. Proper nutrition, hydration, and sleep are all a part of the formula. Giving your body the essential nutrients needed to repair the damage from exercise will help optimize recovery. Drinking plenty of water will allow your body to deliver these nutrients in a more efficient manner and allow your body to filter itself more effectively. And sleep, well, sleep is just awesome! (Who doesn’t love sleep?!) Getting adequate sleep will allow your body to de-stress, lower cortisol levels, and facilitate proper hormone balances. But what’s science, right? All 3 of these together can up your recovery and have you ready for the next workout, but there’s even more we can do!
The whole point of recovery is to allow your body to adapt and “RECOVER” from the stress that has been put on it. So, how can we de-stress? Some simple methods such as walking, reading, and meditating can be very relaxing for the body. Some people find that walking with a friend and just talking helps them de-stress both physically and mentally! (Yes mental health is a part of recovery). But Andy, what is this “active” recovery you were blabbering about? Well, recovery doesn’t mean you can’t be active! Like I mentioned before, we can stimulate other parts of our body while recovering. Mental stimulation is often over looked when recovering. So, why not try a puzzle or two? Maybe take up a new hobby like painting! There are loads of activities you can do to stimulate and “train” your brain and help enhance your recovery process. Again, the whole point of us recovering is to de-stress, so our bodies can adapt to the stresses we put on them, and allow us to perform optimally for the next day. So when you can, take the time to de-stress and find ways that you can challenge your brain and have some relaxing fun!