In case you didn’t already know it, this month’s motto is ‘work smarter not harder’ and being able to perform at your best day in and day out requires that you can recovery optimally – this is important for everyone, you don’t have to be an elite athlete.
Without adequate recovery your work / sports performance will diminish, fatigue sets in while your output begins to suffer. If you continue to push through you are in fact “whipping the tired horse” and you will soon be resorting to caffeine and / or other stimulants – and if this continues you face burnout, illness and your body might just shut down. Not exactly smarter, is it.
Here are my top 5 “Work smarter not harder recovery tips”:
My number one recovery tip for anyone is to ensure you are getting adequate sleep. When we sleep our body goes through its own recovery and repair process. The first four hours of sleep is dedicated to physical repair – repair of muscle and bones. The next block of 4 hours – remember that we are supposed to sleep 8 hours a night – is where psychological repair takes place. I can think of a few people who need that!
Water therapy either laying in warm bath, sitting in a hydro pool or a spa is a great for resting weary bodies. Swimming is a form of active recovery – the lower to non weight barring form of exercise means less stress on joints and muscles.
Stretching / Self myofascial release – stretching and SMR both lengthen tight muscles and connective tissue – when we lengthen muscles improve blood flow and circulation as well as improving muscle function. SMR requires a foam roller or tennis ball and is great for releasing trigger points (knots) in muscles and connective tissues.
Massage, yoga, pilates, massage and meditation are great for the those of us that are holistically minded.
Finally you can try just going for a walk or just turning your legs over on a bike – this will circulate blood and oxygen to muscles. You might also try wearing compression garments; like Skins, they are excellent for reducing the build up of lactic acid while increasing oxygen and blood flow and can also reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
I guess the old Mars bar theme Work, Rest and Play has some real merit here doesn’t it.