The process of muscle recovery differs from person to person. Multiple factors can influence how the muscles in your body recover, and how well they do. It largely depends on the makeup of the individual and the strategies being used to aid you muscles recover after a workout.
The type of workout also plays a part. Muscles are used differently during a weight-based workout compared to cardio-based workouts. Weight-based workouts usually lead to higher excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption, which results in more significant muscle breakdown.
Whatever the workout, it is beneficial to know multiple ways of aiding recovery, and we have 14 great ones for you.
Stretching after any workout is so beneficial for muscle recovery. It allows for an increase in blood circulation that helps your muscles recover after a workout. Also, the tension in the muscle is released which can help prevent post-workout soreness.
There is an ever-growing plethora of research into the variety of available supplements. It largely depends on your workout goals and the needs of your body. In terms of aiding recovery, using hydrogen tablets has been proven by research to prevent the increase of lactate levels during heavy exercise. Lactic acid levels post-workout are linked to sore muscles, which can be an antagonist to muscle recovery.
Sleep is one of the most powerful tools we possess to help muscles recover after a workout. Your general energy consumption while asleep is much lower. Your brain, muscles, and body are at rest.
That allows for more energy to be used to restore the bones and muscles in your body as there is an increased amount of blood flow to the area in need. There is also an increase in the production of your growth hormone.
The general recommendation is 8 hours of sleep, with it being acceptable for adults to have 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. There is a vast array of technology that can track your sleep, as well as give you tips on how to improve it.
A diet that’s balanced with protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals will aid muscle recovery. In particular, protein, which is the main component of our muscles. Foods such as eggs, nuts, bananas, and quinoa are excellent for muscle recovery alongside high protein sources.
How You Exercise
The intensity at which you exercise is going to have a direct impact on how you recover. You must be warming up with a light cardiovascular workout to get the blood flowing, followed by a stretch to ensure the muscles are loose. The same applies post-workout. Cooling down and stretching dramatically helps muscles recover after a workout.
Rest days are essential. One common mistake all athletes make is overstimulating the muscles and not allowing time for recovery.
The body’s need for a rest day will vary from person to person. Generally, 2 days a week completing lower intensity workouts are sufficient. Preferably, swapping workouts for a therapeutic exercise, such as yoga, is better.
Ensuring you are rotating the type of exercise you’re doing is important, especially in terms of weighted workouts. Refrain from over-training one muscle area, such as the biceps, for example, to prevent injury and a slower recovery rate. Try and train each muscle group no more than twice a week. If your workout is cardio-based, incorporate a mixture of different activities, such as cycling and running.
Hydrotherapy is an excellent method of aiding muscle recovery. It’s not necessarily as fancy as it sounds, and can simply be defined as exercising in water. It’s proven to be beneficial for both pain relief and muscle recovery. Your local swimming pool will provide you with a space to complete your hydrotherapy sessions.
Hydration is one of the most forgotten aids to muscle recovery. 43% of adults are drinking 4 cups or less of water per day. The average adult needs around ten cups of water per day. It is proven that drinking enough water speeds up muscles recover after a workout, as well as reduces muscle soreness.
Protein is a specific component of your diet that’s the most vital for muscle recovery. For sufficient muscle recovery, protein should be consumed both pre and post-workout. A lot of people working out benefit from drinking protein supplement shakes to ensure they’re meeting their required intake. For someone training, around 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day is required.
The way you live your life can also have a big impact. For example, if you’ve just had a heavy workout in the gym, either weights or cardio-based, and then spend the night drinking and have hardly any sleep, your muscles will suffer. The recovery time will be far longer, there’s a greater chance of muscle soreness, and you’re generally not going to feel good.
Sports massages, in particular, are recommended for those training consistently. It’s proven to decrease muscle stiffness, reduce muscle pains, and increase muscle recovery times. For someone who is training, a massage every two weeks is recommended.
There are many different therapies available as well as sports massage. Acupuncture and forms of chiropractic therapy are excellent for increasing the range of motion, improving muscle positioning, and increasing blood flow to the muscles in need. They are both excellent for aiding muscle injury recovery, an issue that is very common for people who exercise regularly.
Things to Avoid
There are always things in life to avoid, and it’s often all of the good things that we love so much. It’s the usual suspects like junk food, smoking, and alcohol and drugs that are a no-go if you’re looking to speed up your muscles recover after a workout and generally feel healthier.
Improving how your muscles recover is generally a process of refinement and finding out what works for you. The above-mentioned tips include all of the best muscle recovery aids. The more you pay attention to how your muscles recover, the more of an improvement you will see in your training.