As we all know, exercise is a vital part of maintaining your health. It is essential if you are aiming to lose weight and tone your body; however, it relates to many other crucial health systems. For example, exercise is known to promote better sleeping habits and lower insomnia (1). Additionally, exercise releases endorphins – these are hormones that help improve feelings of relaxation and happiness as a way for the body to naturally cope with pain and stress. Endorphins can protect us from symptoms of anxiety and even fibromyalgia (2).
With all of these benefits of exercise, there are still many people that tend to avoid it. Less than 5% of adults engage in 30 minutes of exercise each day (3). This is because exercising can cause soreness and pain (that is temporary)! This soreness is because working out places particular kinds of stress on the body. Soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and it is an adaptive process that helps your body in the long-run. DOMS occurs when tiny microscopic tears are made in the fibers of the muscles that were used in a tough workout. These tears trigger the immune system in the body and cause inflammation – that inflammation is what makes your body feel sore. It prevents you from using that same muscle group again before it has healed. The good news is that once the inflammation goes away, it means that the fibers in your muscles have recovered – and when they heal, they will be more durable and stronger than before your tough workout that caused them to tear in the first place!
TYPES OF RECOVERY
Now given this information and the importance of post-workout recovery, we want to highlight a few ways to achieve this. There is no one right way to recover. However, these methods can be used depending on how rigorous your workout is and how in-shape you are. It is also imperative that you listen to your body! Each of these recovery types is situational and will be used for different reasons for each individual. Aim to incorporate them into your routine and see what works best for you.
This recovery style should be used when there is extreme soreness in the body following an intense workout. It is where you rest entirely and refrain from the exercise of any kind (even stretching). This allows your muscles to heal more completely and gives you a bit of a mental break. This is typically done the next day after a rigorous training day, and it helps prevent overtraining and staves off burnout (4). This is also what you should do if you are sick - trying to exercise when fighting off disease may slow down the body’s healing process and hurt you overall.
Active recovery is when, instead of completely refraining from any activity (as in passive recovery), you instead modify your exercise to be on the lighter side. Examples of this include moderate aerobic exercises, yoga, etc. Believe it or not, this form of recovery promotes much faster healing than passive recovery. This is because light exercise improves the circulation of waste created in the body from rigorous training. This “waste” includes bi-products of muscle breakdown and other toxins that slow down the healing process (5). Helping to remove those from your body faster helps reduce inflammation and promote faster recovery!
Cross-training is another excellent form of workout recovery. It is a type of active recovery where you break your workouts up so that each workout only targets a group of muscles. You then rotate your workouts, so you alternate the muscle groups that are being used to exercise – this allows you to rest groups while working out the groups! This is the most efficient way to recover because every day you are training some area of your body rigorously. If you are a little new to the world of fitness, this training style might burn you out, so be sure to pay attention to how you feel! Don’t be afraid to take a break if your body needs it.
This is, by far, our favorite form of recovery. Unlike the recovery types we went over above, this style is less about what you do with your body and more about how you feed it! Our diet is one of the most influential aspects of our overall health, and it can make or break your recovery. The goal here is to eat foods following a tough workout that promotes healing. There are two big things you can focus on to accomplish this.
- Anti-Inflammatory Foods: These foods naturally lower the inflammation in the body that is a direct result of your workouts. Foods to incorporate into your diet include dark leafy greens, nuts, olive oil, fatty fish, and fruits (6).
- Magnesium-rich foods: Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a huge part in recovery. It is needed to prevent muscle cramping and spasms after a big workout – it also helps the body replenish its red blood cells, which helps with oxygen delivery. Some of the most magnesium-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, nuts, spinach, soybeans, and legumes (7).
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants are tiny particles that help the body fight stress and damage by removing free radicals. Some of our favorite antioxidants include turmeric, cacao, berries, ashwagandha, maca, and leafy greens!
Exercise is something that significantly improves our physical and mental health. Although it is hard at first, your body adapts quickly - and the better you become and helping it recover, the faster your body will change! Our superfood blends are loaded with antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals, and (best of all) turmeric to help you with your workout recovery. Check out our custom recipe page for fun ways to incorporate these blends into your diet – in the way that it suits you best!