4 Key Components to Recovery & Regeneration
Proper rest and recovery are essential elements to any successful training program. For the most part, they are also the least planned and underutilized ways to improve. Many gym-goers take an ‘all or nothing’ approach to their workout routines. When you train, you train very hard. When you don’t train, you do nothing at all. The bottom line: you need to combine quality work with quality rest to get the results you want. Sleep, hydration, stretching/foam rolling and posture will increase your output ability, decrease recovery time and decrease injuries
Sleep is the most important time to recover. Proper levels of sleep provide mental health, hormonal balance and muscular recovery. Try to shoot for 7-10 hours per night, as individual needs are based on lifestyle, workouts and genetic makeup.
- Each hour slept before midnight is worth two for every hour after midnight.
- Try for minimal to no artificial lights in the most natural setting possible.
- Cooler temperatures and fresh air will improve sleep quality
Drinking ample amounts of water is critical to health, energy, recovery and performance. It helps all our functions, especially more efficient nutrient uptake, decreased stress on the heart, improved skin tone and better hair quality. The best way to check your hydration levels is to look at your urine. If it is clear to pale yellow you’re adequately hydrated. The darker and more color there is, the more water you need to drink.
- Water is the best way to hydrate.
- Save sports drinks for before, during and after intense training or competition, not because they taste good.
- Don’t include additives such as Flavorings or Crystal Lite. They give your system more to process and cause it further strain. Stick to adding a lemon or lime.
- Stretching/Foam Rolling
Both static/dynamic stretching and self-myofascial release (foam rolling) are necessary to move well and remain pain free. Think of static stretching to improve muscle tissue length while foam rolling aids muscle tissue quality. A complete recovery program requires both.
- Include dynamic stretching in the warm-ups and static stretching after workouts.
- Attempt to identify tight areas in your body and focus your flexibility work on those.
- Average 10 rolls per muscle group while foam rolling.
This is one of the least emphasized areas of recovery in American culture. Our society spends more time sitting than any other country in the world, and we tend to have poor posture to go along with it. Sitting or standing with bad posture can lead to back and neck pain, especially for those with desk jobs.
- Use a chair that is ergonomically correct.
- If sitting upright is hard, use a foam roller or ball in your back to help force good posture.
- Don’t lean to one side or on an object repetitively for support while standing.
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