RECOVERY – THE FORGOTTEN ELEMENT OF A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
In today’s “results now” world, rest and recovery is an absent part of most people’s lifestyle. The fact is; that without proper rest, we have no chance for optimal health and fatigue, and burn-out, or injuries are all very real possibilities. Rest and recovery allows the physical body to heal, replenishes our energy stores, and allows for mental healing. Without rest, the body and thereby the person cannot perform at its highest level.
Rest generally falls into two categories:
1. Short term – usually refers to the first 3-4 hours after exercise but can extend up to 1-2 days. The main goal of short term rest is to allow for glycogen store replenishment and some tissue repair.
2. Long term – refers to recovery periods built into a seasonal training schedule. Typically long term rest is days to weeks of recovery, allowing for full tissue repair/healing to take place so an athlete is at optimal health when resuming training. Long term rest also allows for a full mental recovery to take place.
Are you getting enough sleep?
Sleep is an important and often overlooked aspect of both short and long term recovery. Sleep is when most tissue repair takes place, meaning that healing is dependent somewhat on sleep. Long term sleep deprivation can also result in a loss of aerobic endurance. We should all be aiming to have a minimum of 7 – 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
Lack of sleep also affects the body on a hormonal level:
– Lack of sleep can lead to increased cortisol levels (stress hormone)
– Increased cortisol levels impede the production of human growth hormone
– (HGH)Insufficient HGH limits how the body repairs damaged tissues and grows muscle
It is important to note that recovery does not have to be complete rest where no activity is taking place. Active recovery is of more benefit to the body and can include cross training activities like swimming, running, and biking, or low intensity exercises like mobility, massage, or stretching.
• Ice baths (immediately after periods of intense activity or competition)
• Hot baths (only when activity or competition is not planned for the next day)
• Contrast baths (alternating hot and cold baths)
• Stretching (anytime… especially after activity)
• Massage (Self or professional)
• Mobility exercises
• Aerobic flushing (any type of aerobic activity like running, swimming etc…)
• Compression garments (improves venous return, reduces swelling & inflammation)
• Sleep (tissue repair)
• Walk-throughs or mental repetitions (a great time to focus on technique?
• Meditation and other stress reducing techniques
• Sleep (Mental recovery, decreases stress levels)
• Balanced diet (during training and first days of taper)
• Glycogen supplements (immediately after periods of intense activity or competition)
• Carbohydrate loading (pre-competition)
• Sleep (recovery of energy system)
When preparing for a competition, rest just before is extremely important. You should aim to taper about one week before competition. Tapering, like any form of recovery, does not mean a period of absolute rest where you do nothing. When done properly tapering can actually lead to a significant increase in muscular strength and physical performance.
Nutrition also needs to be altered when tapering and preparing for competition. The first three days of a week-long taper should follow a balanced diet of the three key nutrients (Fat, Protein, Carbohydrates). The 4 days following should be carbohydrate loading days so that you can increase the glycogen stores in your body…
MORE GLYCOGEN = MORE ENERGY = OPTIMAL PERFORMANCE
Paul Bradshaw – Kinesiologist at Sparkling Hill Resort
About Paul Bradshaw:
Paul Bradshaw is a Kinesiologist at Sparkling Hill Resort. He graduated from the University of British Columbia Vancouver in 2010 with a Bachelor of Human Kinetics. He is the lead Whole Body Cryotherapy practitioner and also specializes in injury rehabilitation and prevention, and healthy weight loss. Paul is also a certified Kinesio Tape practitioner.